It is a queer case of double standards. Claiming highest quality standards in the world when it comes to its own agricultural imports, the United States has no qualms in exporting sub-standard wheat to India. In fact, diplomatic pressure is being built upon India to import weed-infested wheat.

Failing to reach an agreement after recent bilateral discussions on plant health, a statement from the US Embassy in New Delhi said "…Substantial hurdles still remain, as the US cannot agree to import standards that are impossible to certify and are not in line with international norms." At the heart of the row are the quarantine norms that do not allow wheat consignments with dangerous weeds beyond the permissible limit.

The American wheat comes with 21 alien weeds which are not known to exist in India. As per the weed risk analysis done by the Ministry of Agriculture, all these weeds are of quarantine importance and carry high risk. More worrying is the presence of two weeds Bromus rigidus and Bromus scealinus - better known as foxtail wheat, which is similar in appearance to wheat and therefore difficult to identify.

While the US accepts that its wheat contains 21 weeds, it has expressed its helplessness in cleaning wheat shipments to bring it in tune with the Indian threshold limits.

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