Islamabad [Pakistan], June 5 (ANI): Pakistan and India are cooperating with each other to tackle the issue of desert locust under a forum administered by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Pakistan Foreign Office said.
Pakistan and India are the members of FAO's Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC).
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui, in a weekly media briefing, said that the ministerial meeting of the commission was held in March during which it was decided to reactivate communication between the member states on the locust situation and a Technical and Operational Coordination (ToC) team was formed to exchange information, enhance coordination at the border areas and increase synchronisation to combat desert locust outbreak in the region, Dawn reported.
Farooqui said Pakistan had been participating in the SWAC meeting on a weekly basis. She said the cooperation in exchanging information in the bordering areas of Pakistan and India as "fruitful", according to Dawn.
"We believe that the respective technical teams have been coordinating appropriately through FAO," she further said.
Farooqui said that Pakistan "remains committed to cooperating with all SWAC member states, including India, in combating desert locust outbreak".
Pakistan and India are facing the worst locust attack in recent years. The desert locust is a species of locust, a swarming short-horned grasshopper. They are known to devour everything in their path, posing an unprecedented threat to food supply and livelihoods of millions of people.
Locust swarms from Pakistan have entered Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh threatening major damage to standing cotton crops and vegetables, said a spokesperson of India's Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Rajasthan is the most affected state, the spokesperson informed.
Last month, India had said Pakistan has not yet responded to its suggestion for activation of a local channel of communication for responding to the locust problem.
"There is an existing local channel of communication with Pakistan. This is normally activated in June every year. Seeing the alarming situation, India suggested to activate the channel but there is no response from Pakistan yet," India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
New Delhi had proposed a coordinated response to tackle desert locust along the border to Pakistan and also offered to facilitate the supply of insecticide malathion to Islamabad for the same.
India had suggested to Pakistan that both countries should coordinate locust control operations along the border. India has also offered to supply pesticide malathion to Iran to carry out desert locust control operations in its Sistan-Balochistan and South Khorasan provinces, sources had said. (ANI)