US President Donald Trump has designated India among the over 20 major drug transit or illicit drug-producing countries.
In a memorandum to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, Trump said that a country's presence on the list is not necessarily a reflection of its government's counter-narcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the United States.
The countries identified in the list are Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Trump said his administration has devoted unprecedented resources to combat the scourge of illicit drugs in the US, including by strengthening borders and expanding programs to prevent illicit drug use and aid the recovery and treatment of those who need it.
“We are making steady progress to turn the tide of our country's drug epidemic, but more needs to be accomplished,” he said, adding that this includes further efforts beyond nation's borders, by countries where dangerous illegal drugs originate.
He designated Bolivia and the “illegitimate regime” of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela as having failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counter narcotics agreements.
In Colombia, Trump said that President Ivan Duque has made early progress in rolling back the record-high coca cultivation and cocaine production levels inherited from his predecessor and in leading efforts to restart a Colombian-led aerial eradication program.
This progress needs to continue and expand, and the US will work with Colombia to reach their joint 5-year goal to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production by half by the end of 2023.
“We will also continue to coordinate closely with Colombia and other like-minded partners in our hemisphere to restore democracy in Venezuela. With the end of the Maduro dictatorship rife with criminal elements, the United States will have a much better opportunity to work with Venezuela to stem the flow of drugs leaving South America,” Trump said.
Along the southern border, he said, Mexico needs to do more to stop the flow of deadly drugs entering into the US.
“We need the Mexican government to intensify its efforts to increase poppy eradication, illicit drug interdiction, prosecutions, and asset seizures, and to develop a comprehensive drug control strategy,” he added.
“In particular, Mexico's full cooperation is essential to reduce heroin production and confront illicit fentanyl production and every form of drug trafficking, including through United States ports of entry,” said the US President.
The National Center for Health Statistics in the US estimates that there were 68,557 drug overdose deaths in 2018. An estimated 47,590 involved opioids, and 31,897 involved synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and tramadol, the CNN reported.