The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the Customs and domain experts recently carried out two crucial seizures of items possibly linked to missile, says the Smuggling In India Report 2019-20 of the DRI.
In the first case, an inter-agency coordination led to the interception of a consignment of chemical that could be used as missile propellant. The dual use chemical, wrongly declared as harmless, was transiting through India while being transported between two foreign countries.
As the chemical was notified in the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technology (SCOMET) list of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, the consignment was seized under the relevant provisions of the Customs Act and the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act.
In the second case reported in February, an auto-clave, — a high-technology equipment possibly meant to be used in the missile programme of the destination State — was found concealed in the same bottom cargo of a ship transiting through India. The equipment was notified in the SCOMET list.
“Customs, through swift and targeted enforcement, intercepted the consignments and seized the suspect cargo. Such swift and targeted action in collaboration with other agencies and technical experts underscores DRI’s commitment to national security and its excellent track record in proliferation matters,” it said.
The seizures were made as part of the agencies’ Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) mandate, which has become an important dimension of national security. It refers to enforcing licensing provisions in trade of strategic goods like weapons of mass destruction or dual use goods which have both military and civilian applications.
“Being a signatory to the three of the four major export control regimes viz. the Wassenar Arrangement, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group and a responsible member of the International community, it is contingent on India to make all possible efforts to ensure that its borders and trade is not used for proliferation and illegal trade in dual-use goods and technologies,” said the report.
Preferred trading route
The agency said India had become a preferred trading route in the global supply chain, leading to requirements for extra vigil in goods transiting through its airports and sea ports.
Cross-border smuggling of gold, narcotics, explosives, arms, ammunitions and fake currency also have a bearing on national security.
In 2019-20, the DRI registered multiple cases of narco-terrorism. In one such case, the agency, along with the Indian Coast Guard, intercepted a fishing boat off the coast of Gujarat and seized 214 kg of heroin. Another seizure of 7 kg of heroin was made in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara and Tangdhar, close to the Line of Control.
The Customs seized 532 kg of heroin in June 2019. It was concealed in the bags declared to be containing rock salt, being imported from Pakistan via the Integrated Checkpost in Punjab’s Attari.