On Friday, the two-day conference on ‘Combating Drug Trafficking’ for BIMSTEC partner nations concluded with the valedictory address by MoS Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy. Reddy reiterated the government’s commitment to fighting against the menace of drugs. The conference was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who stated that the Centre was overhauling the entire Drug Law enforcement in India. He asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a 'Drugs Free India' was possible through capacity building, increased manpower, technology, and resources.
As per a press release issued by the Narcotics Control Bureau, the challenges posed by drug trafficking to both the Indian subcontinent and the BIMSTEC countries are very similar. The geographical proximity to the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle, which are major opium production regions of the world puts the BIMSTEC nations in a very delicate position. The bumper harvest of opium in Afghanistan has increased the supply of heroin to all the BIMSTEC nations.
The release also notes that drug traffickers are using the Bay of Bengal to their advantage. Moreover, the BIMSTEC region is also vulnerable to diversion and trafficking in pharmaceutical drugs. The use of darknet in drug trafficking has also added to the challenge of law enforcement agencies. The sessions of the conference were organised keeping in mind these aspects.
The first day of the conference witnessed two sessions. The first session was on ‘Maritime Trafficking of drugs in the Region’ where the members raised concerns about Methamphetamine and Ketamine trafficking through maritime routes. On the other hand, ‘Production and Trafficking of Methamphetamine in the Region’ was the focus of the second session. The day ended with a cultural programme.
Meanwhile, the final day commenced with a technical session on Drug Trafficking and Darknet. Thereafter, another session titled ‘Trafficking of Pharmaceutical Drugs containing Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances’ was held. The last session was dedicated to a discussion on the demand and harm reduction mechanisms used by members of the BIMSTEC.