The mood between India and neighboring Pakistan has intensified. The reason for the tension is The Telegraphin caused by as mundane a thing as basmati rice, brings a long-grain side dish known for dinner around the world.

The Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has been reluctant to apply for an exclusive right to import Basmati rice into the European Union in the Indian capital, New Delhi. Basmati rice is grown in both India and Pakistan and bears the EU PGI mark.

The label emphasizes the relationship between a particular geographical area and the name of the product, in which case the quality, reputation or character of the product can be considered to be essentially due to its geographical origin. For example, Scotch whiskey has the EMM label.

Pakistan opposes the application

Understandably, Pakistan is not happy with India’s efforts. If India is granted an exclusive right to import basmati rice into the EU, Pakistanis will see it as a sign that rice grown in Pakistan would be worse than that grown in India.

At present, around 900,000,000 kilos of basmati rice are imported into the EU each year. Of that, two-thirds come from India, and the remaining third from Pakistan. The share of rice imported from Pakistan in the EU market has been growing in recent years, as dangerous quantities of pesticides have been found in some consignments of Indian rice.

The Pakistani authorities are therefore expected to send a formal protest to the EU against Pakistan’s exclusionary EMM application.

“Pakistan strongly opposes India’s application to the European Union, and opposes India’s exclusive right to the EMM logo for Basmati rice,” Pakistani authorities say.

The European Union acknowledges receipt of India’s application. Pakistan has three months to object to annul the possible passage of the application.