SOURCE: Tribune News Service

The US administration has assured India to help it to play a leadership role in its neighbourhood in controlling the menace of smuggling and use of narco and psychotropic substances in the region.

The issue of India’s leadership role in dealing with the menace in South-Asia came up for discussion at a meeting of the Counter Narcotics Working Group (CNWG) on June 2 in Washington in which NCB Chief Rakesh Asthana led the India delegation, whereas the American side was jointly led by White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Assistant Director Kemp Chester, Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Jorgan Andrews and Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Hodge.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said, “The two sides discussed measures in support of India’s regional leadership role in building capacity for counter-narcotics initiatives in South Asia; countering regional cross-border drug trafficking and crime through enhanced sharing of operational intelligence; and expanding law enforcement cooperation on counternarcotics issues.”

“Both sides also agreed to the sharing of expertise on dark-net, crypto-currency and postal/courier interdiction mechanisms. In addition, both sides committed to use of a sub-working group to establish a framework for bilateral cooperation to address the drug threat within our countries. They committed to continuing these discussions at the next CNWG meeting next year,” it said.

More to these, the two sides also identified areas for joint actions and resolved to continue their close cooperation on this important issue. “Both sides committed to the sharing of data, best practices, and lessons learned, including details regarding public health approaches to address substance use disorder and other consequences of drug use within our countries,” the statement read.

The representatives of both the countries highlighted their commitment to strengthening cooperation in curtailing illegal production, manufacturing, trafficking, and distribution of “pharmaceutical and illicit drugs, as well as the precursor chemicals” used to manufacture them.