NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Thursday skipped a bilateral meeting with India on desert locust incursion issue. The meeting was scheduled to be held at Munabao (India side) along the border.
initially agreed to go ahead with this technical-level meeting which was scheduled for Thursday, it refused to join it at the last moment,” said an official.
Under institutional mechanism, both the countries are expected to meet six times either at Munabao (India side) or at Khokhropar (Pakistan side) during June-November — a period which coincides with maximum incursions of the crop-munching desert locusts.
Though both the countries along with
and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of
have been holding virtual meetings every week since March, the meeting on Thursday was scheduled as their first bilateral meeting on the locust issue this year.
The bilateral meetings between locust control officers from both the sides, led by respective plant protection advisors, are considered important for coordinated action against desert locusts which have potential to destroy standing crops on both sides of the border.
“The weekly meeting of all four countries - India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan - with the FAO representatives will, however, continue,” said the official.
Usually, the locust swarms enter India for summer breeding with the advent of monsoon. Its incursion this year, however, happened during March-April because of presence of residual population of locust in Pakistan which the neighbouring country couldn’t control during last season.
Once entered into
, the swarms then gradually moved with wind direction to interior districts of different states including
, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.