Checking illicit trade prime objective of border management policy: India

India has told a UN conference on small arms that a principle objective of its border management policy is to secure frontiers borders against illicit trade, emphasising that its national security has been adversely impacted by terrorism, transnational organised crime and drug trafficking.

“With a long border with several neighbours, border management remains a significant challenge for India. A principle objective of India’s border management policy is to secure our borders against illicit trade, including through the setting up of a Department of Border Management as well as establishing bilateral and multilateral avenues of cooperation in this sphere” , Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, said here yesterday.

Gill was speaking at the 3rd UN Conference to Review Progress made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat And Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in all Its Aspects.

He said India attaches high importance to the programme of action as the cornerstone of multilateral efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW.

India’s national security has been adversely affected by terrorism, transnational organised crime, drug trafficking and piracy, in all of which, illicit trade in SALW plays a pernicious role. The continued full and effective implementation of the PoA is, therefore, a priority for India, especially as a means for combating terrorism and transnational crime, he said.

Gill noted that despite the efforts of responsible states and international organisations, small arms, light weapons, ammunition and explosives continue to move illicitly across borders.

It is therefore imperative to focus our attention on further strengthening the implementation of the PoA,” he said.

Government representatives are meeting at UN headquarters to review global action to address the illegal flow of revolvers, pistols, assault rifles, machine guns and other similar weapons.

These small arms and light weapons, which end up on battlefields or urban streets and elsewhere, are a big problem for the world, according to the UN body that has organised the two-week conference, which opened here on Monday.

Small arms fire kills over half a million people each year, UN Chef de Cabinet Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti had told the gathering.

She said while those pulling the trigger range from soldiers and police officers, to civilians – sometimes acting in self-defence – most are members of armed groups, terrorist organisations, criminal gangs, or national security forces who are abusing their power.

Regulating small arms is a unique challenge, Viotti stated, delivering a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Gill told the conference that India has a robust legislative and administrative mechanism to combat and eradicate the menace of illicit SALWs.

India maintains strict export controls over all munitions and related items including SALW.

He said India believes that the full implementation of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) will go a long way in tackling illicit trade in SALW. ITI requires States to ensure that weapons are properly marked and that records are kept.

“The ITI recognised the interconnected nature of marking, record keeping and international cooperation, which, in our view remain the three pillars of successful tracing of illicit SALW,” he said.

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