Look Who is (Unfortunately) Talking

Within a month, US President George W. Bush has made two remarks that more or less illustrate the new tendency of the developed countries to blame China and India for any major global problem. Back in April, China and India were denied special environmental exemptions since they “were emitting increasingly large quantities of greenhouse gases”, according to the President.

Yet according to the US Congressional Research Service in 2005, the per capita greenhouse gases emission of the US is a whopping six times more than that of China and thirteen times that of India. Smells like hypocrisy, doesn’t it?

And based on a recent comment by Mr. Bush, the burgeoning middle class population in India “is demanding better nutrition and better food… and that causes the price [of food grains] to go up.” Economically, that may be right, but what I want to ask Mr. Bush is that is it not the right of the people to demand better nutrition? Isn’t that the whole point of economic growth, to create a better lifestyle?

Despite the increased food intake in the two countries, it is still the developed western countries which have the highest rate of nutrition and caloric intake in the world. What is worse is the fact that studies have shown wastage of food being most rampant in industrialized countries. According to researchers at the University of Arizona, 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the edible food in the United States never gets eaten! And yet, it is China and India who are responsible for global food grain price rise! The curbs placed by the two countries’ governments on food exports are a measure to guarantee that there are sufficient supplies for its own citizens. Is that not the duty of any government?

This has given impetus to our Opposition parties to have a go at the US. The NDA has voiced its concerns over the remarks, terming them as “interference”. The ruling party’s ministers too have attacked Bush for his comments, saying US policies also have a hand in the price rise. Already facing a backlash from the Opposition for the spiraling rate of inflation, the UPA pinpointed the US government’s encouragement to farmers to grow crops for bio fuels instead of food, which many economists have stated as a cause for the price rise.

The entire episode certainly doesn’t help the cause of the nuclear deal, which is already undergoing a slow death. Although it may seem like a minor incident, Indo-US ties could well be strained for sometime due to the pressure on the government from the Left parties and the NDA. We will have to wait and see where ties between the two countries go from here, but all we can hope for is that Mr. Bush next time looks closer to the White House for solutions for such problems.

Raveesh Bhalla

[Image Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/webel/136778577/]