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‘Jute for wheat’ — what is historical India-Argentina barter deal Jaishankar talked about

Unique Delhi: Forward of their talks on bilateral cooperation right here Sunday, Exterior Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, whereas welcoming Argentine International Minister Santiago Cafiero, referenced a mid-20th century ‘Jute for Wheat’ settlement signed between Unique Delhi and Buenos Aires.

“This day, FM @SantiagoCafiero shared a family reference to India. His grandfather signed a ‘Jute for Wheat’ settlement with India in 1951,” tweeted Jaishankar.

This day, FM @SantiagoCafiero shared a family reference to India.

His grandfather signed a ‘Jute for Wheat’ settlement with India in 1951.

Searching on him to steal this custom extra. https://t.co/Qt8DdTTgU6 pic.twitter.com/4PYBMgulN5

— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) April 24, 2022

The commerce settlement — first signed by the 2 international locations in 1949 — used to be a obvious barter treaty under which Argentina exported wheat to India in exchange for jute. 

The settlement used to be inked around a time when aspects of India were going via famine attributable to a series of pure mess ups, and used to be having a glance to import grain. On the time, then American President Harry S. Truman had appealed to the US Congress to produce assistance to India so it would possibly maybe perhaps maybe “meet the food disaster which now confronts the people of that nation”.

Cafiero is on a seek recommendation from to India to abet the three-day Raisina DialogueIndia’s flagship convention on geopolitics and geoeconomics committed to addressing the most no longer easy concerns going via the worldwide team — which began Monday. European Price President Ursula von der Leyen additionally attended the event.

Requested why the ‘Jute for Wheat’ settlement is foremost now, Arpita Mukherjee, a professor on the Indian Council for Compare on Worldwide Financial Relations (ICRIER), a Delhi-basically basically basically based issue tank, steered ThePrint that “right here’s piece of India’s preparations for the G20 presidency”.

“The cause the outside affairs minister is bringing this up now, in particular after a seek recommendation from from UK PM Boris Johnson and with European Price President Ursula von der Leyen in town, would possibly maybe well be for outreach to the G20 participants,” she added.

India will preserve the G20 presidency from 1 December, 2022, to 30 November, 2023, culminating with the G20 Summit in the nation in 2023.


Also Read: ‘Peep past Ukraine, world threw Afghanistan under the bus’: Jaishankar reminds Europe


Wheat for jute

In his 1990 ebook India’s Latin American Relations (1990), unprecedented Congress MP N. P. Chaudhary wrote: “At as soon as after setting up diplomatic family participants with Argentina in 1949, India entered into an settlement with it for provide of wheat in exchange for raw jute from India. That settlement used to be renewed subsequent three hundred and sixty five days.”

Resulting from the timing of the treaty — it used to be signed when India used to be a moderately new republic — there is itsy-bitsy documentation of the settlement by the Indian government. However, it finds rapid mention in archival fabric from the Ministry of Exterior Affairs. 

“Our ambassador presented his credentials on the 23rd June, 1949. The Argentine ambassador to India has been appointed and is likely to realize in Unique Delhi at this time,” it states, and goes on to add: “An settlement has been entered into between the Governments of India and Argentine for the provision of wheat in exchange for raw jute from India.” 

A distant places commerce bulletin from the US Division of Commerce printed in January 1950 additionally talks about a “commercial contract signed by India and the Argentine Republic on 30 December, 1949”, noting that the tag of wheat used to be mounted at about £26 per metric ton and that of “jute manufactures” used to be roughly £204 per metric ton.

Per a 1951 memoir of the US Senate Committee on Finance, the barter settlement between India and Argentina used to be extended in December 1950.

A US Division of Agriculture memo dated 21 February, 1951, mentions a 1950 design entertaining the “exchange of 50,000 many of jute for 390,000 many of wheat” between India and Argentina. It additionally mentions a “newer” settlement calling for the exchange of “60,000 many of Indian jute in exchange of 4,68,000 tonnes of Argentine wheat”. However, it doesn’t specify whether or no longer the later settlement used to be a brand new one or an extension of the sooner deal.

India had opened a commerce price in Buenos Aires in 1943 and later converted it into one of its first embassies in South The US in 1949.

Why did India desire to signal the settlement?

Per a 1932 US government document titled ‘Textile Market of Argentina’, India used to be a number one commercial producer of jute around this duration. It is silent the very finest producer of jute on this planet.

On the time, attributable to a series of pure mess ups including earthquakes, floods, drought and plagues of locusts, India’s grain slit in 1950 took a predominant hit, according to Truman’s message to Congress quoted earlier. It used to be therefore having a glance to import grain to feed its population in cities as effectively as rural areas.

The US used to be pondering sending food grain to Unique Delhi, which it finally did via the India Emergency Meals Assistance Act in June 1951

Extinct US Senator Kinds Bridges, as quoted in Congressional records dated 22 January, 1951, defined how Unique Delhi used to be reluctant to import grain from Pakistan on the time.

“In 1940, Pakistan is speculated to fetch provided to promote India 600,000 many of wheat. Top Minister Nehru spurned the offer on the identical time that he used to be importing it at elevated worth. The identical negate silent prevails. To ensure, the Pakistan exchange price is something of an impediment in that Pakistan did no longer devalue her forex when diverse countries in the Commonwealth adopted the devaluation of the British pound…A identical negate prevails with respect to cotton: India has refused cotton from Pakistan whereas procuring it from Egypt,” Bridges mentioned. 

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)


Also Read: Nehru’s 1949 ‘goodwill tour’ of US & how it opened a brand new chapter in bilateral family participants


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