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Gorbachev hails food consumption in India, China

May 14, 2008 19:15 IST

Unlike US President George W Bush, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Wednesday hailed the growth of food consumption in India and China as he sought expansion of the UN Security Council to include some 'most important states' to address the global food crisis.

Growth of food consumption in rapidly developing India and China is named as the primary reason for the crisis, which some have dubbed as 'silent tsunami,' the former Soviet President wrote in the official Rossiskaya Gazeta daily.

"This is an objective reason: we need to rejoice that millions of people are coming out of poverty and can afford normal diet. Our planet is capable of feeding them," he said ahead of the meetings of Foreign Ministers of India, Russia, China and Brazil in trilateral and quadrilateral formats beginning tomorrow in this city situated in the Urals on the border of Asia and Europe.

His comments follow Bush's statement earlier this month that prosperity in countries like India is 'good' but it triggers increased demand for 'better nutrition' which in turn leads to higher food prices.

Food security would be one of the key issues at the meetings in Yekaterinburg. Russia has 40 per cent of the world's arable land, half of which remains unused due to lack of work force and infrastructure.

Gorbachev also blasted the UN Security Council for limiting its role to that of a 'fire fighter' of the already razing conflicts instead of focusing on challenges of tomorrow like food security.

"Of course there is an urgent need to rectify the situation, when such most important states like India, Brazil, Japan, Germany and South Africa are not its members," Gorbachev underscored.

He claimed that even with today's technology the planet could easily feed eight billion people.

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