India unlikely to join Ukraine ‘grain corridor’: MEA
New Delhi: India is unlikely to join the Ukraine ‘grain corridor’, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday, adding bilateral mechanisms are in place for India to extend food grain assistance to several countries in the global south.
“We have been extending assistance to countries from the south bilaterally. I don’t have any clarity if we will join, probably not, our focus has been on bilateral south-south mechanisms,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said when asked if India is considering joining the grain corridor.
“As of now, I don’t have intimation that we are looking to join this initiative,” he said.
The Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports, also called the Black Sea Grain Initiative, is an agreement between Russia and Ukraine made with Turkey and the United Nations (UN) during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, there was a complete halt of maritime grain shipments from Ukraine, a major exporter, resulting in a rise in food prices across the globe.
Discussions began in April, hosted by Turkey which controls the maritime routes from the Black Sea, and supported by the UN and an agreement was signed in Istanbul on 22 July 2022.
According to various reports, around 47 million people were estimated to be suffering from severe hunger as a result of the soaring food costs partly due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were among the worst hit due to their reliance on imported grain and fuel.
In response to another question on a Russian ship which is under US sanction docking in an Indian port, the MEA spokesperson said India has not made any policy statement on this.
“This is a technical world of what is sanction, what is not…. I think our position on getting oil from wherever we can has been repeatedly articulated at various levels,” Bagchi said.
“You’re talking about non-oil related shipments… I don’t think we have made any policy statement on this. I don’t have any new policy to announce today. If it is docked in an Indian port clearly they are docking in Indian ports,” he said.
The spokesperson was asked about reports of a Russian vessel carrying parts for a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh docking in an Indian port.