Saturday, October 1, 2022

BIMSTEC brainstorms on combating drug trafficking

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New Delhi: In the two days of extensive deliberations happened during ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’ for BIMSTEC Partner Nations the representatives discussed in detail the ideas and best practices that are required to combat the drug menace in the region. The geographical proximity to both Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle, major opium production regions of the world, puts all the BIMSTEC Partner Nations in a very precarious position. India’s position is more vulnerable as we are sandwiched between the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle. The bumper harvests of opium in Afghanistan for the last few years have given rise to increased supply of Heroin in all the BIMSTEC Nations. Another major concern for worry is a large number of Methamphetamine manufacturing facilities that are prevalent in some of the BIMSTEC countries. These facilities manufacture a large quantity of Methamphetamine which is further trafficked to all the BIMSTEC countries.

Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle

The Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle are the names coined for world’s two principal areas of illicit opium production, though geographically we can say, Asia’s. The Golden Crescent is situated at the crossroads of Central, South, and Western Asia and includes areas of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The mountainous peripheries of these countries define the crescent. While the Golden Triangle is shaped alongside the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meeting at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. Golden Triangle was the name coined by the CIA. The Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle are one of the largest opium-producing areas of the world, since the 1950s. Most of the world’s heroin came from the Golden Triangle until the early 21st century when Afghanistan became the world’s largest producer.

Drug trafficking through the sea route

Another area of concern is drug trafficking through sea route that affects BIMSTEC Nations. While the Bay of Bengal facilitates trade worth billions of dollars, the drug traffickers also use this vast network to their advantage. Two recent seizures of 371 kg and 1156 kg Methamphetamine by Indian authorities from two vessels in the Bay of Bengal are two glaring examples of this facet. Further, the BIMSTEC region is one of the most thriving centres of pharmaceutical manufacture and trade. It is also in very close proximity to China, which is another leading country in the Pharma sector. This has also made the BIMSTEC region very vulnerable to the diversion and trafficking in Pharmaceutical Drugs.

The developments in technology have thrown a challenge to drug law enforcement agencies. The use of darknet is one of the ugly facets of technological use in drug trafficking. The combination of darknet and courier /postal deliveries have made the narco/psychotropic trafficking more anonymous in nature. Keeping in mind these problems which are common to the BIMSTEC Nations and Indian subcontinent in particular, the various sessions of the conference were designed.

Maritime Trafficking of drugs in the Region-Sharing of experiences by the BIMSTEC countries, Production & Trafficking of Methamphetamine in the Region, Drug Trafficking and Darknet – Courier & Postal Interdictions, ‘Trafficking of Pharmaceutical Drugs containing Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances’, and the ‘demand and harm reduction mechanisms used by the member Nations’ were primarily the sessions deliberated upon during the two-day long conference.

The BIMSTEC ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’ concluded in New Delhi on Friday.

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