MUMBAI - India has imposed a $1,200 per ton minimum export price (MEP) on basmati rice shipments, the government said on Sunday, as the world's biggest exporter tries to calm local prices ahead of key state elections.

The south Asian country in July banned exports of non-basmati white rice and on Friday imposed 20% duty on the exports of parboiled rice.

But after the ban, some traders were classifying non-basmati white rice as basmati to overcome the export restriction, the government said in a statement.

The MEP would help authorities ensure that non-basmati rice is not exported as basmati rice, they said.

India and Pakistan exclusively grow premium, aromatic basmati rice. India ships out around 4 million metric tons of basmati rice to countries such as Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Christopher Cushing)