India and Myanmar hold bilateral meet on drug control

India and Myanmar held a fifth bilateral meeting on drug control and cooperation, during which New Delhi highlighted issues pertaining to the trafficking of heroin and amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) in the country.

The meeting between the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), India, and the Central Committee on Drug Abuse Control, Myanmar, was held virtually on Thursday.

The Indian delegation was led by the Director General Narcotics Control Bureau, Rakesh Asthana, and the Myanmar side was represented by the Commander of the Drug Enforcement Division (DED) and Joint Secretary of the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, Pol. Brig. Gen. Win Naing.

Asthana said: “High prevalence of drug abuse in the northeastern states abutting the Myanmar border is a major cause of concern for India. Apart from porosity of the India-Myanmar border, drug trafficking through the maritime route in Bay of Bengal has emerged as a new challenge for both countries.”

He added that the NCB has remained committed towards strengthening the existing mechanism of sharing information and assistance with Myanmar, for combating the drug menace in the region.

Meanwhile Pol. Brig. Gen. Win Naing elaborated on the growing threat of the production of yaba tablets (methamphetamine) which has caused a grave concern in the region, even though the cooperation mechanism between Myanmar and India has been enhanced over the past years.

He urged India to develop frequent information exchange on trafficking of drugs and precursor smuggling activities at every level.

The Commander complimented the Central government and the NCB for their continuous efforts to combat the growing threat of the drug menace.

Both countries agreed on the exchange of intelligence information in a timely manner to conduct follow-up investigations in drug seizure cases, new psychotropic substances and their precursors.

They also agreed to conduct Border Level Officers/Field Level Officers meetings on regular basis between frontline officers to strengthen the existing cooperation on drug law enforcement.

It was decided to exchange information on illegal entry and exit points of illicit drug trafficking on the Myanmar-India borders and information on technology being used to interdict drug trafficking.

The meeting concluded with constructive and meaningful discussions and commitment to cooperation in the future, with the decision to hold the the sixth bilateral meeting in India next year.

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