Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Neisseria gonorrhoeae compromises patient treatment and disease control. Epidemiologically based surveillance of AMR in gonococci is needed to optimize standard treatment regimens. Validation of AMR surveillance data depends on external quality assurance schemes (EQAS). AMR surveillance data quality in India during 2001-2007 was assessed by participants testing panels of reference strains and repeated re-challenge with identical controls, accompanied by educative feedback. Overall, correct results were obtained for 944 (82%) of 1030 tests performed for five 'core' antibiotics. Aggregated error rates decreased from 33% (123 tests) in 2001 to 4.4% (180 tests) in 2007 with improvements in individual laboratory performance. Cephalosporin test results produced high error rates without improvement. Reference centre and network laboratory collaboration produced marked improvements in test performance through annual EQAS integrating proficiency testing and participant education. More frequent EQAS cycles would assist this process. These experiences may be applicable in similar settings elsewhere.