US-India Counter narcotics Working Group exchange views to reduce threat of illicit drugs

The US-India Counter narcotics Working Group (CNWG) on Wednesday convened the second virtual meeting and exchanged views to reduce the threat of illicit drugs.

Both sides committed to a bilateral framework of policy engagements and expanded cooperation to help reduce the threat of illicit drugs in both countries, read the joint statement of CNWG.

The Indian delegation was led by Director General Rakesh Asthana, Narcotics Control Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, while the US delegates included 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.

The delegations engaged in wide-ranging conversations focused on increasing collaboration on counter-narcotics regulation and law enforcement. The two sides identified areas for joint actions and resolved to continue their close cooperation on this important issue.

Both sides exchanged views on the broad array of narcotics-related challenges facing the United States and India. 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, read the statement.

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

They also highlighted respective efforts in combating drug trafficking in accordance with the rules and regulations of their respective countries and proposed to share best practices for countering synthetic opioids and precursor chemicals.

The two sides also discussed initiatives 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 counter-narcotics issues, read the statement.

Both sides also agreed to the sharing of expertise on dark-net, crypto-currency and postal/courier interdiction mechanism.

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 two countries. They committed to continuing these discussions at the next CNWG meeting next year.

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