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International relations

Basmati rice row marks latest front in India-Pakistan rivalry

Islamabad readies objection to New Delhi's geographical indication push in EU

Pakistan, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, left, and India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, have opened a new front in their long rivalry: basmati rice. (Source photos by Reuters) 

KARACHI -- Pakistan is preparing to contest India's claim in the European Union that basmati rice sold in the bloc is genuine only if it originates from specific areas of India. EU acceptance of New Delhi's position could pose a severe blow to Pakistani rice exports and reverse market gains made in the single market the last three years.

India applied for a geographical indication, or GI, tag in the EU in 2018 for basmati rice -- a long-grain aromatic variety popular among South Asians -- exported to the trade bloc from India, including the states and union territories of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and the selected districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The application was published in an official EU journal on Sept. 11 after clearing internal evaluations.

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