US concerned over growing illicit drug market in India

US concerned over growing illicit drug market in India

Washington: The US has expressed concern over illicit drug market in India saying significant amounts of Opium poppy produced for legitimate pharmaceutical purposes get diverted to illegal markets.

“India have a large problem of diversion of chemicals and of Opium production. Because of the diversion from their licit opium that they do grow, it’s finding its way to the illicit market, and as much as 30% of their Opium is being diverted," the State Department has said in its latest Annual Report on the Major Drug Producing Countries.

“Recently, Indian law enforcement officials discovered and destroyed very large fields of poppy grown in areas where before, we thought there was no illicit cultivation," Christy McCampbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement said.

India has been listed in the “Majors list" of illegal drug transit and drug producing countries, a categorisation of nations which are overwhelmed by drug related violence, crime and corruption.

The countries listed for this year’s Majors list are the same as they have been for the last two years and include Afghanistan, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Pakistan besides India.

“Because a country is listed on the Majors list does not necessarily mean that country supports narcotic trafficking or is lagging in its counter-narcotics efforts.

“The law stipulates that a major illicit drug producing country is defined as one that either cultivates or harvests at least a thousand hectares or more of Coca or Opium or also five thousand hectares of Cannabis during a single year," she said.