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The prevalence of the cold war between India and Pakistan can be seen from the time immemorial over one issue or the other. India and Pakistan are once again standing against each other over the Geographical Indication (GI) tagging of Basmati rice. Pakistan is about to vehemently oppose India's claim of GI tag for Basmati rice in the European Union (EU). Pakistan wants to restrain India from obtaining an exclusive GI tag of basmati rice.
Geographical Indications (GI) means an indication which identifies any goods such as agricultural goods, natural goods, or manufactured goods, as originating or manufactured in a particular territory of a country or a region or locality in that territory where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristics of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. In a case where such goods are manufactured, one of the activities of production, processing, or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region, or locality as the case may be. Place names are often used to identify a product.
Examples of GIs in India:
- Darjeeling Tea – Darjeeling (West Bengal)
- Varanasi Sarees – Varanasi (U.P.)
Examples of GIs in the World:
- Champagne – France
- Scotch – Scotland
- Roquefort Cheese – France
The decision to oppose was taken in a meeting which was chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce named, Razak Dawood. Secretary Commerce, Chairman, Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO-Pakistan), representatives of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), and the legal fraternity attended the meeting.
According to the reports, the Pakistani representatives have claimed that their country is a major producer of Basmati rice, and India’s claim of exclusive rights on Basmati is unjustified.
Pakistan recognizes its right to oppose India’s exclusive rights on the GI tag of Basmati Rice through the enacted act by the Pakistan Government as “the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act”. This act was enacted in March this year. “A Pakistani legal team soon will file its formal opposition with the EU,” according to reports.
As per the European Union's (EU) official journal, India has filed an application for the GI tag of Basmati Rice produced in India. This means the sole ownership of Basmati Rice. According to India's application, "Basmati is aromatic long-grain rice, which is produced in a particular geographical region of the Indian sub-continent. The region where it grows is a part of northern India, below the foothills of the Himalayas forming part of the Indo-Gangetic plain." The application further said that "The special characteristic of Basmati is grown and produced in all districts of the state of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand as well as in specific districts of western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.”
Everyone is looking forward to this new face-off between India and Pakistan. Let’s see who wins this battle of GI tagging in the end.