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India to soon announce its stand on Genetically Modified Mustard

Modi government to allow Genetically Modified Mustard to be cultivated in India

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Mustard plantations (Pixabay)
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NEW DELHI, 3 September,2016: The Government of India will soon announce its decision about permitting the commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) mustard – which could be its first transgenic food crop and “ideology” will not be a factor here, said a minister.

Mustard seeds (Pixabay)
Mustard seeds (Pixabay)

Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said India would also come up with other GM food as its population increases and arable land shrinks.

He also says, India will know the decision about their view on GM Mustard pretty soon.

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He points out the fact that, Indian scientists are good researchers and will do their job well. This way Indian money will stay in the country itself.

Obstacles

Indian population and BJP who object to reliance on technology developed mainly by Western countries, stand their ground about their opposition to lab-altered food.

Mustard flower (Pixabay)
Mustard flower (Pixabay)

This could throw a spanner in the works for GM mustard, which recently got technical approval from a panel of government and independent experts after multiple reviews of crop trial data.

“You must have different parameters for what you eat and what you only come in contact with, like cotton,” Dave said. “(But) eventually it is the doctor who gives the medicine. Ideology has no connection with this.”

Dave, a river conservationist and amateur pilot, said the government’s aim is to make regulation on GM crops foolproof and that people’s views will be taken into consideration before taking any final decision.

After some farmer groups complained about high rates, the Modi government is at crossroads with Monsanto over how much the world’s biggest seed company can charge for the GM cotton seeds it supplies.

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India has also proposed that Monsanto, which dominates India’s GM cotton seed market, share its technology with local firms. Monsanto has said it is contemplating leaving India, its biggest market outside the Americas, and recently pulled an application to sell next-generation cotton seeds, Reuters found out.

Dave brushed aside concerns that Monsanto’s withdrawal of the cotton variety will hurt Indian farmers as existing seeds become vulnerable to pests.

“Indian scientists are capable enough to meet the requirement of Indian farmers, in every crop,” Dave reaffirms his faith in Indian scientists.

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.