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INDIA AND PAKISTAN’S BASMATI RICE DISPUTE



  Mar 29, 2024

INDIA AND PAKISTAN’S BASMATI RICE DISPUTE



What Is the Basmati Rice Dispute Between India and Pakistan About?

The dispute involves India’s request to the European Union to recognize basmati rice as originating from seven Indian states and territories, potentially giving its producers exclusive rights to the basmati label in the European market. Pakistan opposes this claim, arguing that it also grows basmati rice and is expected to file a formal objection.

Why Is Basmati Rice Significant to Both Countries?

Basmati rice is a staple of South Asian cooking, known for its fragrant, long-grain characteristics. It’s central to various traditional dishes in both countries. Additionally, basmati rice represents a significant export commodity, contributing to the economies of India and Pakistan.

What Is a Geographical Indication (GI) Status?

A geographical indication status tags a product as originating from a specific place, where its quality, reputation, or other characteristics are linked to its geographic origin. GI status can serve as a mark of quality and help exporters command higher prices.

How Would GI Status Affect Basmati Rice Exports?

GI status for Indian basmati in the European Union could potentially boost Indian exports by allowing them to charge higher prices for the rice under the basmati label. It may also improve the product’s global reputation as distinctly Indian.

What Are the Potential Consequences of the Dispute for Pakistan?

If the EU grants GI status to “Indian basmati,” Pakistan might not be able to market its basmati rice under the same label in the EU without obtaining its own geographical indication. This could impact Pakistan’s basmati rice exports and its standing in the international market.

Have India and Pakistan Collaborated on Basmati Rice Before?

Over a decade ago, India and Pakistan discussed jointly applying for geographical status for basmati rice. However, the talks fell apart following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, leading to worsened relations and halting collaborative efforts on basmati rice.

What Is the Economic Impact of Basmati Rice Exports?

Basmati rice is a major export product for both countries. India sold basmati rice worth $4.3 billion last year, with significant portions going to the Middle East and the U.S. Pakistan’s basmati exports totaled $582 million in 2018-19, making it the second-largest exporter of basmati rice after India.

How Are India and Pakistan Competing in the Basmati Rice Market?

The competition has intensified as Pakistan increases its basmati sales to Europe and Iran, India’s main customer. The geopolitical and economic rivalry extends to efforts to secure a larger share of the global basmati rice market.

This basmati rice dispute between India and Pakistan underscores the complex interplay of cultural heritage, economic interests, and national pride, further complicating the long-standing rivalry between the two nations.


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