India figures in US list of major Drug transit countries

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Washington, Sep 17 (UNI) India again figures in the United States' list of major drug transit or drug-producing countries along with Pakistan, Burma and Afghanistan for fiscal 2009.

US President George Bush made this pursuant yesterday to section 706(1) of the Foreign Relations Authorisation Act. "There aren't any surprises on that list. It's the same as it was last year," a State Department official said.

It, however notes that the Government of India maintains a strong track record of regulating, monitoring, and curbing its ilicit opium production and distribution process.

It says that India has introduced robust, high-tech methods to control cultivation by licensed opium farmers. In this sense, India must continue to refine its control measures to guard against the continuing problem of diversion of ilicit opium crops, grown for the production of pharmaceutical products, to illegal markets.

The document, however says that the United States continues to be concerned about illicit opium poppy production in certain areas of the country, such as West Bengal and the state of Uttaranchal along the India-China Border, previously thought to be free of such cultivation.

"Nevertheless, during the past year the country has destroyed substantial areas of illicit poppy cultivation. The Indian Government must also continue to investigate cases of large, illicit poppy production and accordingly bring perpetrators to trial," it says.

The report says the US, along with other foreign governments and international organizations, has a good working relationship with India to interdict the flow of narcotics being smuggled across India's borders.


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