The Indian government said on Wednesday it will stop sending sugar exports to the US, saying it does not want the sugar that was once part of the country’s diet to enter the US market.
The move comes as India’s government faces a major food crisis, with the country importing almost half its calories from sugar.
It was the latest move in a year of protests over the food shortages and high prices that have rocked the country.
In December, India’s central government approved a controversial $1.5 billion deal with a sugar producer in the United States, which would allow the company to export sugar to India at a lower price.
In return, the government said it would buy back more than 4 million tons of sugar that has been produced in the US.
The agreement with the sugar producer, Syngenta, was first announced in February but was never implemented.
The deal was approved in December, but was halted by a court ruling.
The government said in a statement that the decision was made “in the spirit of national unity and for the best interests of the nation”.
India imported more than 2.8 million tons last year, the majority of it from the United Kingdom.
India’s economy has shrunk to nearly $5.4 trillion from more than $10 trillion a decade ago, partly due to a lack of foreign investment.