Highlights The two-day meeting of heads of Customs of countries in the Asia Pacific will look to devise a common strategy to counter organised crimes
Representatives of Interpol, UN Office for Drugs and Crime, and the World Customs Organisation are among the participants In another cold shoulder to Pakistan, India has not extended an invitation to the neighbouring country for a two-day meeting starting here on Tuesday where heads of Customs of at least 21 countries in the Asia Pacific will gather to devise a common strategy to counter organised crimes such as narco-terrorism, money laundering and gold smuggling.
Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the lead agency organising the event alongside its 61st foundation day celebration, will hold discussions with representatives from South, South-East Asia, West Asia and international organisations.
Representatives of Interpol, UN Office for Drugs and Crime, and the World Customs Organisation are among the participants. New Delhi is likely to highlight recent cases of smuggling of arms and narcotics busted by DRI in the Akhnoor sector in J&K which showed deep linkages between drug-trafficking and cross-border terrorism.
“In the last three years, DRI has busted several international drug syndicates, besides 18 synthetic drug factories, illicitly manufacturing fatal drugs such as Fentanyl, Ketamine, Methamphetamine, Mephedron, Mandrax and Alprazolam,” a senior DRI official said.
The DRI is the government’s apex law enforcement agency responsible for countering organised crimes such as smuggling of arms, ammunition, narcotic drugs, gold, diamonds and counterfeit currency, among others. The agency also counters commercial frauds related to exports and imports of goods, plugging leakage of tax revenue and trade based money laundering and black money.
“Mutual strategy to counter organised crime related to drugs, precious metals and stones, environment, wildlife, money laundering and black economy are among subjects to be discussed at the meeting,” the official said.
India will convey its concerns and seek to isolate rogue nations providing state patronage to narco-terrorism and organised crime syndicates. This is the first time that India has invited Customs heads of 21 countries to deliberate on forming a common strategy to counter organised crime.
“Direct interaction among partner Customs administrations will enhance cooperation and sensitise our counterparts for mutually addressing concerns of India and global community in ensuring public welfare, safety and security,” the officer said.
Besides huge quantities of heroin smuggled from Pakistan, DRI had seized smuggled gold valued at about Rs 970 crore last year. Smuggling of precious metals and narcotics is a prime vertical of organised crime with direct implications to black money generation and money laundering, according to the agenda note to be taken up at the gathering.