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Over 200 kg heroin seized in J&K in August-January

The agencies have seized over 200 kg of heroin from Jammu & Kashmir during August-January, mostly smuggled through international border. (Representational)

Drug law intelligence and anti-smuggling enforcement agencies on Tuesday flagged concerns about growing incidences of narco-terrorism in the border areas of the country, especially in Jammu & Kashmir.

The agencies have seized over 200 kg of heroin from Jammu & Kashmir during August-January, mostly smuggled through international border, officials from Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Narcotics Control Bureau said at the launch of the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Report 2018.

Citing a recent case of seizure at the Line of Control where DRI seized huge amount of heroin with the help of the Army, DRI's Principal Director General Debi Prasad Dash said there are big rackets which prove nexus of narcotics and terrorism being pushed from across the border. Dash said the shift is towards borders as a result of rise in growing area (of drugs) in Afghanistan.

Rajesh Nandan Srivastava, Deputy Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau said there is an increasing trend of smuggling of heroin and other drugs being seen through Jammu & Kashmir over Punjab.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Report 2018 highlighted India being the "transit country for illicitly produced opiates, in particular heroin, which originate in Afghanistan and are trafficked through the country via Pakistan en route to Europe and North America (mainly Canada)". "The route used by traffickers to smuggle opiates through South Asia is an alternative part of the so-called "southern route", which typically runs through Pakistan (or the Islamic Republic of Iran) and, via the Gulf countries, continues to East Africa and on to the destination countries," the report said.

The global trend of purchasing drugs over the internet, particularly on darknet trading platforms using cryptocurrencies, has already spread to the region, including India, the report said. One recent study of the global Internet-facilitated illicit drug trade identified more than 1,000 drug listings from India published across 50 online crypto-market platforms. "In 2017, authorities in India dismantled two illicit pharmacies selling drugs over the Internet, seizing close to 130,000 tablets containing psychotropic substances and arresting 15 people in the process," it said.

The UN report also said that illicit crop cultivation remains an issue of concern in some countries in South Asia, "in particular with regard to illicit opium poppy cultivation in India", where it coexists with a sizeable area under licit opium poppy cultivation, and in Nepal. 'Illicit cannabis cultivation is an issue of concern in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka," it said.

India is also frequently being named as the country of origin for substances not under international control such as ketamine. In 2017, Indian authorities seized a total of 161 kg of ketamine.