Duterte and Indian PM discussed war on drugs and here’s what happened

President Rodrigo Duterte has discussed the Philippine war on drugs with Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi on Thursday, January 25, in New Delhi and the latter agreed that the drug menace is a serious international concern, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Modi acknowledged the problems brought by the illegal drug trade to any society and said “there might be a need for international cooperation to deal with the menace.”

“The Prime Minister highlighted that it should be of the same scale and scope as the international cooperation that we have today on climate change,” Roque in New Delhi, where the President is attending a summit among Southeast Asian leaders and Indian officials led by Modi.

Roque added that the Indian leader “realizes that the threat of drugs to young people is very, very serious.”

“He said that he has in fact raised the issue of the drug menace in the G13 Summit emphasizing that drug traffickers used proceeds from their illicit trade to fund terrorist activities,” Roque said.

Nearly 4,000 drug suspects have been killed since Duterte came to the office in July 2016, but human rights groups have said there could be more than 10,000 deaths, including the vigilante-style slays. Duterte has earned international criticism on his take of “war on drugs.”

Malacañang has repeatedly defended the drug war, saying drug suspects slain in police operations had put up violent resistance. Officials have shot down human rights groups’ death estimates as overblown.

The President has ignored international criticism against his campaign. He, however, responded to public outcry over the deaths of teenagers in questionable operations by putting the Philippine National Police in a supporting role in his drug war and placing the much smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency at the lead in October.

He has since allowed the police to go back to the frontlines, and the PNP is set to relaunch its house-to-house “knock and plead” operations “Oplan Tokhang” next week.

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