NEW DELHI: Resolving not to allow illicit trade of narcotics within India’s boundaries, home minister Amit Shah on Thursday stressed on the need for all countries, particularly the Bay of Bengal littoral states, to combat the global menace by engaging with one another on exchange of ideas, policies and best practices.
Addressing the two-day Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) conference on ‘combating drug trafficking” organised by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) here, Shah said India had adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards narcotics and the country’s measures to control it were being overhauled to ensure that smuggling and trade of drugs was completely stopped.
The event was attended by Bimstec secretary-general Shahid-ul-Islam, junior foreign minister V Muraleedharan, visiting representatives of Bimstec member nations Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and NCB DG Rakesh Asthana, among others.
Shah said the “dirty money” obtained from narcotics trade was being used to fund global terrorism and other transnational crimes and it was the need of the hour for all countries to join hands and fight the problem.
“We will not allow drugs from any country of the world to enter into our country nor will we allow them to go out of the country… I want to assure that India is committed to end the drug menace and will take the lead role to check narcotics trade in the world,” he said.
According to an official statement, Asian countries are increasingly being affected by drug trafficking and Bimstec, being the key link between South Asian and South-East Asian nations, was one of the most effective platforms to tackle this global threat.
Shah said Manipur and Mizoram, which shared borders with Myanmar, and some coastal states were sensitive and may become a gateway for illicit drugs entering India, which must be prevented.
The minister expressed concern over the increasing rate of drug addiction — a 30% rise in the last 10 years — and termed the menace a “curse for mankind” as it not only killed an addict but also destroyed families and society. He said an estimated $400 billion worth of illicit drug trade happened globally every year, giving an idea of the size of challenge facing humanity.
Quoting PM Narendra Modi, Shah said there was no nation in the world that was not affected by global terrorism, transnational crimes and illicit drug trafficking. He assured the delegates that in line with the PM’s vision of a drug-free India, the government had devised a strategy to ensure inter-agency coordination and revamp the prosecution mechanism to end drug trafficking.


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