Big muscles from China and India are now helping Southeast Asian Indochinese countries combat the transnational narcotics trade.
Officials from China, India, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand have met to discuss ways to combat the narcotics criminal syndicate in the region in the Pentalateral Gropu on Drug Control (PGDC) with India playing host. Drug factories formerly based in Myanmar were also moving their operation into Laos due to slightly stronger enforcement from Thailand and Myanmar. Myanmar remains a center for refining drugs which are then distributed back to India.
This time, the emphasis is on drug trafficking and the growing of narcotics. India and China will be coordinating action in this area bilaterally with the Indochinese countries. There is also recognition, announced by India’s home ministry spokesperson that Myanmar, Thailand and Laos are where the main opium-growing trade is located, festering and proliferating new forms of drugs such as methamphetamine for distribution to the rest of the world. For India, this is a matter of urgency because drug money is now funding the rebels opposed to the Indian government. Drug money can also be used to fund regional terrorism.
China also stepped in to take leadership in a festering issue in its southern border. It called for joint actions to eliminate transnational crime syndicates. China has in the past faced the horrors and dangers of narcotics with the British-sponsored and controlled opium trade which has enslaved its population since the late Qing dynasty period. It is determined to stamp out drug addiction in the country. Despite the world’s largest population at 1.3 billion people, it has only 1 million addicts and is still determined to decrease this number. China sees drug addiction as a national weakness since the British days of the Opium Wars and is determined to eradicate this social disease. With the help of China and India and the alignment of interests, there could be better hope in Southeast Asia’s quest to reduce addiction.
* Five-nation meet to firm up drug control strategies (newKerala.com, Jan 11)
* Coming together to combat narco-menace in Southeast Asia (DNA India, Jan 9)
* Officials from five countries to devise anti-narcotics strategies (newKerala.com, Jan 10)
* Delhi hosts third Pentalateral Group on Drug Control (Straits Times Jan 11)