US, others in touch with India to revive Black Sea grain deal | India News

NEW DELHI: As Russia comes under renewed pressure to revive the Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine, the US and EU are also talking to India to see if it can use its influence with Moscow to ensure resumption of Ukrainian grain exports.
While the deal was brokered by the UN and Turkiye last year to attenuate the effects of the war on global food security, India also had played a role in reaching the agreement, as foreign minister S Jaishankar said earlier this year. While EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was reported to have approached all G20 foreign ministers earlier this month for help in getting Moscow to rejoin the deal, the US remains engaged with India at the UN on the issue as it calls upon Moscow to not “weaponise” hunger.
“I know that parts of the American government are engaging with India I think at the UN level. This is very important and one of our essential points is that you don’t have to be in Europe to see this war affecting all of us. And we want India’s food security also to be strong,” US ambassador Eric Garcetti told TOI.
It is not known yet if India has taken up the issue diplomatically with Russia, but at the UN the government strongly backed efforts to revive the agreement, which Russia pulled out of on July 17, and called for an early resolution to the impasse. “Addressing the growing food grain shortages requires us to go beyond current constraints,” said India’s permanent representative Ruchira Kamboj earlier this month, adding India’s G20 presidency had been focused on depoliticising the global supply of food, fertilisers and medicines.
According to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who was in India for the G20 trade ministers meeting last week, the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as it is formally known, provided a lifeline for hundreds of millions worldwide facing hunger by enabling the delivery of 20 million tonne of grain — mostly, wheat, maize and sunflower oil — to lower and middle-income countries through Black Sea ports.
However, while India doesn’t want geopolitical tensions to come in the way of humanitarian assistance, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Brics summit last week, which was also attended by PM Narendra Modi, that the West had not honoured “the part of the Black Sea grain deal affecting Russia”. Moscow did not renew the deal saying western sanctions had blocked Russia’s own export of grains and fertilisers.



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