Drug trafficking poses a global challenge that significantly impacts India, making the country both a destination and transit point for illicit drug trade. Its geographical proximity to the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle regions amplifies its vulnerability to drug trafficking.

Precarious Geographical Position:

  • Golden Crescent Influence: The Golden Crescent in the west, spanning Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, is a major opium-producing area. India’s proximity makes it susceptible to heroin supply due to difficult surveillance in mountainous terrain.
  • Golden Triangle Impact: The Golden Triangle in the east (Thailand, Laos, Myanmar) is another hub for opium production. Opium production surged by 22% post-2013, according to the UNODC.

Regional Factors:

  • BIMSTEC’s Role: The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) region is a pharmaceutical manufacturing and trading hub. Large-scale methamphetamine production is trafficked to neighboring countries.
  • Coastal Vulnerability: India’s coastlines (Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean) facilitate drug inflow through maritime routes. Seizures of significant drug quantities from these areas underline the challenge.

Security Implications:

  • Narco-Terrorism Nexus: Former Home Minister Rajnath Singh highlighted the threat of narco-terrorism involving terrorist groups and syndicates. Drug trade serves as a conduit for smuggling arms and explosives, supporting terrorism.
  • Terror Financing: The convergence of narcotics and terrorism fuels activities in regions like Kashmir, Punjab, Red Corridor, and North-East. Drug money finances insurgency and terrorism against the state.
  • Financial Security Concerns: Drug trafficking contributes to black money generation, hawala transactions, and money laundering. This intertwining of drug and money laundering activities disrupts India’s financial security.
  • Criminal Impact: Drug abuse among youth leads to criminal behavior, exacerbating issues like theft, murder, and rape. Mental health problems associated with drug use contribute to law and order challenges.

Addressing the complex issue of drug trafficking requires a multifaceted approach. India should implement comprehensive strategies, such as enhancing surveillance, establishing an anti-Narcotic force, and updating the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985 to effectively counter the evolving challenges posed by drug trafficking. Only through a holistic strategy can India mitigate the adverse impact of drug trafficking on its internal security and societal well-being.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish May 11, 2024