India-Canada news: Are lentils going to be a chokepoint amid diplomatic tension | Mint – Mint

Amid the diplomatic tension between India and Canada, the sales of lentils from Ottawa to New Delhi have slowed. Canada is India’s main import source of lentils. However, reduced purchases by India may cut the prices Canadian farmers receive during harvest.
According to a report by Reuters, such a move could also inflate India’s domestic food prices.
Also read: Amid India-Canada row, Elon Musk accuses Canadian PM Justin Trudeau of ‘crushing free speech’
But a senior government official told Reuters that New Delhi has not instructed importers to refrain from purchases.
Besides, an official with the Canadian Global Affairs Department said that Canada is also not taking any action that would directly affect trade with India.
Also read: ‘Canada’s charges against India had poor credibility at UNGA’
However, a Canadian exporter told the agency that Indian buyers have become hesitant, but overall global demand for lentils remains strong.

India and Canada’s lentil diplomacy:

Canada was the biggest supplier of lentils to India in FY 2022-2023 with shipments of 485,492 metric tons worth $370 million, accounting for more than half of India’s total lentil imports, according to data from India’s trade ministry.
Also read: BIG relief for Canada work permit applicants as IRCC decides to fast track processing with automation
The trend has continued with India’s imports of Canadian lentils from April to July jumping 420% from a year ago to 190,784 tons, ministry data added.
India consumes around 2.4 million metric tons of lentils annually, but local production falls short at 1.6 million tons, said Bimal Kothari, chairman of India Pulses and Grains Association.
Indian buyers are now seeking lentils from Australia and slowing purchases from Canada, a Mumbai-based dealer claimed.
India-China relations have soared follwoing Canadian PM Trudeau’s allegations regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
India has outrightly rejected the claims, calling it “absurd” and “motivated.”
Notably, Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Nijjar.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar has highlighted incidents of threats, violence, and intimidation against Indian diplomats and missions in Canada. He has questioned whether the reaction would have been the same if a similar situation had occurred in any other country.
He further emphasized that the situation in Ottawa should not be normalised.
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