WASHINGTON, May 3: US President George W. Bush on Saturday blamed the ‘wealthy’ lifestyle of India’s huge middle class for the spiralling global food prices.

“There are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That’s bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population,” observed Mr Bush. ‘‘And when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food. And so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up.”

The remarks, made in a speech on economy and trade, earned him an immediate rebuke from India where a spokesman for the ruling Congress party said Mr Bush’s analysis was “completely erroneous” as India is not a food importer but a food exporter.

Mr Bush, however, is not the first US leader to blame India. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed similar views. She said that improving incomes and prosperity in India and China were responsible for the rising food prices.

Other American officials also have indicated that people in these two countries were eating too much and a better quality food, which has forced world food prices to go up.

In India, a Congress party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters that Mr Bush’s assessment was wrong.

“The facts speak otherwise. India is not a net food importer. It is a food exporter,” he said. “The assumption that local prices are increasing because of a changed India is completely erroneous.”

Mr Tewari instead blamed the developed world for the crisis. “Diversion of arable land in the developed world for ethanol production and changes in the climate pattern led to the crisis,” he said.

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...