India discussed "misuse" of the darknet and modern technology for drug trafficking during a recent webinar conference of BRICS nations, a government statement said on Sunday. The anti-narcotics agencies of this multi-nation grouping also discussed steps to curb increased instances of drug trafficking through the maritime route, it said.
The 4th session of the BRICS anti-drug working group, under the chairmanship of Russia, was held on August 12 and the Indian side was represented by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Director General Rakesh Asthana.
The BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India.
"Fruitful exchange of opinions concerning the drug situation in the BRICS states, the international and regional trends of illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, as well as the impact of various internal and external factors on the situation took place during the summit," a statement issued by the Union Home Ministry said.
"The common points emerged during the discussions include need for real-time information sharing among the member states and need to curb increased drug trafficking through maritime routes," it said.
It added that the "misuse of darknet and other advanced technologies for drug trafficking was one of the key focal areas of the meeting."
Darknet refers to the deep hidden internet platform that is used for narcotics sale, exchange of pornographic content and other illegal activities by using the secret alleys of the onion router (ToR) to stay away from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies.
The NCB had busted a first-ever such case after it apprehended a narcotics vendor based in Uttar Pradesh in February who allegedly used the darknet to ship hundreds of psychotropic drug parcels abroad in the garb of sex stimulation medicines.
The member nations adopted a communique that covered all the points discussed in the meeting, the statement said.
"The growing economic might of BRICS countries, their significance as one of the main driving forces of global economic development, their substantial population and abundant natural resources form the foundation of their influence on the international scene and are the driving forces behind the grouping," it said.
"Among other areas of collaboration, matters pertaining to drug trafficking is an important area of cooperation among the BRICS member states," it added.
The Indian side at the conference included NCB Deputy Director General (operations) B Radhika, NCB Deputy Director (operations) KPS Malhotra, First Secretary (trade) in the Indian Embassy at Moscow Vrindaba Gohil and under secretary (multilateral economic relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs Vaibhav Tandale, it said.