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New Delhi, February 14, 2020
Stating that the government had a zero-tolerance policy against narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances trade, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said India would not allow trafficking of drugs into or through its territory.
“We will not allow drugs from any country of the world to enter into our country nor will allow it to go out of the country,” he said in his inaugural address at the two-day BIMSTEC Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking here on Thursday.
In this regard, Shah talked about various steps taken by India on the national as well as international levels, including those at UN and Interpol, to combat this menace.
The conference, organised by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), is being attended by delegations from the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) partner-nations including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, besides representatives of various State Governments.
The Home Minister also released the administrative and operational manuals of NCB on the occasion.
Shah called illicit drug trade a global menace and said that it is a burning global issue that plagues every nation, especially the Bay of Bengal littoral states. It is thus very important for all countries to engage with each other to exchange ideas, policies and best practices in order to combat this menace, he said.
The Home Minister said the Government has devised a well laid-out strategy to ensure inter-agency coordination and revamp the prosecution mechanism to end the menace of drug trafficking. India would not allow illicit narcotics and psychotropic substances trade to happen within its boundaries, he said.
“India, taking the lead in organising this BIMSTEC conference, would act as the harbinger of new avenues within the region that will help to bring other Nations on such similar platforms to find solutions to tackle drug trafficking," he said.
He also termed the Bay of Bengal littoral States as the focus of India's "Neighbourhood First" and "Act East" policies and India being the largest country in the region will not shy away from its responsibilities in fighting drug trafficking and terrorism.
Talking about the seriousness of the drug trafficking issue, Shah quoted the UN's World Drug Report and said that over 5% of the global population between 15-64 years of age is addicted to narcotics and use of illicit drugs.
The Home Minister expressed concern that the rate of addiction is showing a fast increase i.e. a 30% rise in the last 10 years. He termed drug addiction as a curse for mankind as it not only kills the addict but also destroys families as well as the society, besides fuelling the evil of global terrorism and transnational crimes through its dirty money.
He cited an estimate of over $ 400 billion of yearly illicit drug trade happening globally, giving an idea of the size of the mammoth issue facing humanity.