U.S. State Department officials said Monday India has a serious problem with diversion of chemicals and legal opium into illegal markets.
In President George Bush’s Majors List of major drug-transit or illicit-producing countries submitted to Congress, India figures as one among 20 countries that have failed to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements and to take measures specified in U.S. law.
On Monday September 17, at the Briefing on Release of Annual Report on the Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for FY 2008, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Christy McCampbell told reporters that:
The reason that India is on the Majors list is they do have a large problem of diversion of chemicals there and of opium production. Because of the diversion from their licit opium that they do grow, it’s finding its way to the illicit market, and as much as 30 percent of their opium is being diverted that we believe. And so that is why that would be considered — I guess you could consider that both a transit and a producing country because of the opium that is going into the diverted markets.
While the U.S. praises India’s “exemplary record” on controlling its legal opium production and distribution, the Americans are unhappy with the recent discovery of illegal opium cultivation in pockets of India previously thought to have been free of such illegal cultivation.