Mon, 04 Jul 2022

New York [US], May 19 (ANI): Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Thursday highlighted the adverse impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on the developing world, and called for a "global collective action" to address the looming food crisis as well as economic decline.

MoS Muraleedharan was speaking at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) open debate on 'Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Conflict and Food Security' which was chaired by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"The Global South has been adversely impacted both by the conflict itself, as well as by the various measures put in place in response. If the conflict does not give way to a meaningful path of dialogue and diplomacy immediately, there will be severe repercussions in the global economy which will derail the efforts of the Global South to secure food security and eradicate hunger in the run-up to 2030," Muraleedharan said.

Saying that the collapse of economies and law and order issues are being already seen in some countries, MoS Muraleedharan emphasized the need to start factoring in the multi-dimensional impact of the Ukraine conflict and the associated actions on the Global South especially the vulnerable developing countries.

"The solution to these challenges lies in global collective action. No single country can, on its own, handle such complex collateral ramifications. We need to work collectively and we need to work together. In this context, let me submit the following eight points for this Council's consideration," Muraleedharan said.

He went on to elaborate on the eight-point proposal which included a call for a solution to the Ukraine conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, a creative response to the emerging food crisis, and a sensitive approach toward the energy security needs of other countries, among other proposals including special support to conflict-ridden countries, avoiding linking humanitarian assistance with political processes and providing for peacebuilding and development initiatives as well in addition to assistance with food.

Talking about India's recent decision to impose restrictions on the export of wheat, Muraleedharan said that the Indian government took the measure as it "recognized the sudden spike in global prices of wheat which put our food security and those of our neighbours and other vulnerable countries at risk.""Let me reaffirm that these measures allow for export on the basis of approvals to those countries who are required to meet their food security demands. This will be done on the request from the concerned governments. Such a policy will ensure that we will truly respond to those who are most in need," Muraleedharan said.

"It is necessary for all of us to adequately appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains. We have already seen to our great cost how these principles were disregarded in the case of Covid-19 vaccines. Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination," Muraleedharan emphasized.

MoS Muraleedharan went on to talk about India's domestic initiatives to ensure access to food, highlighting that, "India is running the world's largest food-based safety net programme."He also highlighted India's assistance in foodgrains to neighbouring countries including Afghanistan and Myanmar and several African countries.

"We are also assisting Sri Lanka including with food assistance, during its difficult times. All these were in keeping with our foreign policy priority of 'Neighbourhood First' and our firm belief in the abiding ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the world is one family," Muraleedharan said.

"I would like to underscore India remains committed to working with all other Member-States and international organisations, including the United Nations, to collectively strengthen global food security, particularly in countries facing conflict situations," MoS Muraleedharan said.

MoS Muraleedharan is on an eight-day visit to the US during the course of which he is also leading the Indian delegation for the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) being held by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) among other engagements. (ANI)

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