India will host the first-ever BIMSTEC nations' conference on "combating drug trafficking" in the national capital this week and it is expected to be inaugurated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, officials said on Tuesday.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the federal agency for drug law enforcement, will organise the two-day conference to be held on February 13-14 at the Vigyan Bhawan here.
The conference is the result of the commitment made in this context by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 4th BIMSTEC summit in Nepal's Kathmandu in 2018.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation comprising seven countries -- India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- that fall in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal.
"In the changing drug-trafficking scenario, Asian countries are increasingly being affected by drug trafficking and BIMSTEC, being the key link between South Asian and South East Asian nations, is one of the most effective platforms to tackle this global threat," the NCB said in a statement.
A recent seizure of 1,527 kgs of methamphetamine in two tranches by the NCB established the fact that the Bay of Bengal region was impregnated with the drug-trafficking menace, it said.
While Shah is expected to inaugurate the conference, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will also be present, besides the diplomats of BIMSTEC nations present in the country.
The conference aimed to provide an opportunity to all the member nations to deliberate on the increased threats posed by drug trafficking and the collective steps that were required to negate such threats, the NCB said.
The participants to the conference are also expected to discuss the security challenges posed by drug trafficking through the sea route.
"Regional maritime connectivity and trade through the Bay of Bengal are imperative for the shared prosperity and economic growth of the entire BIMSTEC region.
"However, while providing unhindered maritime access, security challenges at sea and coastlines are a threat. One of the most prominent of such challenges is drug trafficking through sea. It necessitates collaborative efforts at sea amongst the partner nations to combat drug trafficking through sea," the statement said.
The conference will also see participation of other central and state intelligence and probe agencies and the best practices deployed by them to curb drugs-related crime will be discussed, it added.
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