A staple of Indian cooking is caught in a political tussle as food security becomes increasingly important.
Narendra Modi is spending billions of dollars on self-reliance. On roads and in factories, the Indian prime minister’s slogan translates to generous subsidies for homemade electric-vehicle batteries, solar panels and green hydrogen — anything that can help cut an outsized dependence on Middle Eastern crude oil. There is, however, another imported oil the South Asian nation is addicted to: the one used for cooking. Indian kitchens spend $19 billion annually on Indonesian palm, Ukrainian sunflower and Argentinian soybean oil.