Tensions are once again boiling over between India and Pakistan – only this time over basmati rice, the long-grained aromatic staple of dinners around the world. Islamabad has taken offence to New Delhi’s plans to seek permission from the European Union (EU) to export the grain as a product unique to India, known as protected geographical indication (PGI). Other products the EU currently recognises as having PGI status, described as possessing “qualities, reputation or characteristics relating to its place of origin”, include Stilton cheese and Scottish whisky. Pakistan fears that if India is able to obtain this qualification standard, it will suggest that Indian basmati rice is superior to the Pakistani equivalent and harm its exports. Currently, the EU imports two-thirds of its approximately 900,000 metric tonnes of basmati rice annually from India, although Pakistan makes up the remaining third.
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