India says the US will not allow it to open the border
A day after a White House meeting, India said it was blocking a US-India agreement to open a southern border to prevent it from exporting opium.
The statement on Tuesday was in response to a report in The Washington Post which said India had been sending “more than 5 million pounds of heroin” into the United States every day for years.
India said the report was based on “numerous reports”, but it did not elaborate on the specific allegations, which it said were “baseless”.
“India is ready to work constructively with all interested parties and the United Nations to find a solution for the illegal narcotics trade in India,” the statement said.
“We also urge the US government to refrain from making any new unilateral decisions which may damage bilateral relations.”
India said it had been cooperating with the US for several years in dealing with the narcotics trade and that it was ready to “work constructively” with the Trump administration.
The US-Indian deal was struck after US President Donald Trump, a vocal critic of India’s treatment of illegal narcotics, visited India in March to pledge to fight the drug trade.
“If the United Kingdom wants to be part of this fight, they should take part in it,” Trump said at the time.
The United States and India have agreed to coordinate on combating the narcotics market in a deal that was agreed under President Barack Obama in 2016.
The move to block the deal has been condemned by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which said in a statement it was “disappointed” by the announcement.
“The INCB takes seriously the concerns raised by our members, which are consistent with its previous reports and recommendations,” the board said in its statement.
“We strongly urge the United State government to continue to pursue a robust policy response to this global problem, including through enhanced cooperation with India.”
India and the US have been at loggerheads over drugs since Trump took office in January, with the former accusing the latter of failing to act against drug traffickers and the latter accusing the former of allowing the trade.