India advocates a strategy to combat narco-terrorism at the Customs Enforcement meeting

NEW DELHI: During the two-day regional Customs enforcement meeting, which concluded here on Wednesday, heads of Customs from 21 countries from Asia Pacific endorsed India’s stand on the need for a mutual strategy to counter organized cross-border crimes and narco-terrorism.

Interpol, World Customs Organization, Iran, Mauritius and Australia made presentations related to these topics while Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) emphasised on the need for ‘data exchange to control illicit trade’ and proposed a four-stage model. Interpol, France-based international police organization, also made a presentation on the need to combat cross-border crimes and money laundering.

In its presentation, Australia said there was need on ‘passenger profiling and targeting capability’ by countries to effectively counter these crimes. It explained Australia’s layered approach in passenger profiling.

This was the first time that India had invited heads of Customs enforcement agencies from 21 countries, excluding Pakistan, and raised issues of terror networks being used by the neighbouring country to smuggle in drugs, arms and ammunition.

The two-day event was organized by the DRI which had recently carried out an operation along with the Army at the international border in the Akhnoor sector in J&K, killed one terrorist and confiscated huge cache of arms and ammunition besides 21 kg of high-quality Afghan variety heroin worth over Rs 105 crore.

India is also affected by large number of cases of gold smuggled into the country and foreign currencies going out. In the last financial year, DRI had confiscated over 3,000 kg of smuggled gold worth around Rs 950 crore.

“During the meeting, there was special emphasis on sharing of data and intelligence between different Customs administrations. Extensive discussions were held regarding mutual strategy to counter organized crime related to drugs, precious metals, money laundering and black economy,” DRI said in a statement.

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