Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now recognized as a major global public health problem which has been aggravated by the irrational use of antimicrobial agents in human and animal health as well as the presence of these agents in the environment. AMR in animal pathogens makes disease treatments ineffective, increases the severity of the disease, reduces productivity and leads to economic losses. In addition, more than half the quantity of antimicrobials used in animals/fish is excreted as waste contaminating soil, water and the environment.

This also contributes to the emergence and spread of AMR through selection pressure on microorganisms in the environment. Besides, antimicrobial usage (AMU) can lead to presence of antimicrobial residues in edible animal/fish products which could become a public health risk. Understanding the dynamics of AMR and its surveillance can only be done through quality laboratory services.

Laboratory-based surveillance is an integral part of Objective 2 of the National Action Plan of India (2017–2021), which was developed in alignment with the Global Action Plan for AMR.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), with technical assistance from FAO, has established a network of its institutions, the Indian Network for Fishery and Animal Antimicrobial Resistance (INFAAR), to generate nationally representative surveillance data on AMR.