It all began on Friday, May 2, with a question about rising food prices during a presidential press conference in Missouri. The answer from President George W. Bush, taken from the official transcript, included these thoughts:
Worldwide there is increasing demand. There turns out to be prosperity in developing world, which is good. It's going to be good for you because you'll be selling products into countries -- big countries perhaps -- and it's hard to sell products into countries that aren't prosperous. In other words, the more prosperous the world is, the more opportunity there is.
It also, however, increases demand. So, for example, just as an interesting thought for you, 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. 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.
And in the last couple of days, there's been a lot of coverage in India about those comments and the heated reaction there from politicians, analysts and others:
* Times of India: Parties unite to slam Bush food remark
All major political parties, including Congress, BJP and the Left, on Saturday lashed out at US President George W Bush for blaming the growing demand in India for the spiralling global food prices even as the Opposition also used the opportunity to attack the government.
* Hindustan Times: Bush's 'cruel joke' may rock house today
Defence Minister AK Antony on Sunday said US President George W. Bush’s statement that the growing demand for foodgrains in India had led to the spiralling of global food prices was a “cruel joke”. The BJP, too, attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his silence on Bush’s remarks and said that it would raise the issue in Parliament on Monday. Anger over Bush’s statement continued unabated on Sunday with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee saying “he has gone out of his mind since his downfall is near”. Antony, the first cabinet minister to speak out against Bush, said, “USA’s policies were also responsible for the foodgrain shortage. Those who criticise us shouldn’t set apart agriculture land for other purposes. The countries, including US, should rectify their mistakes.”
link to original transcript
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