Drug-trafficking as a Non-traditional Security Threat: Emerging Trends and Responses

  • Pushpita Das Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, India
Keywords: Drug Trafficking, National Security, Borders, Terror Funding, Anti-Drug Laws


India‟s proximity to two of the world‟s largest producers of opium and synthetic drugs and its large pharmaceutical base has made the country not only a conduit but also a source for drug trafficking. This illegal movement of narcotics and drugs pose significant threats to national security: breach of security of the international borders and the country, money generated by the sale of drugs and narcotics are used for terror funding and criminal groups engaged in drug trafficking develop nexus with terror networks. The trends and patterns of drug trafficking in the country demonstrate that there has been a gradual shift from traditional/natural drugs towards synthetic drugs that are being trafficked and consumed in the country. The paper analyses the steps taken by the State to curb the process and its effectiveness so far.


Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drugs) Abuse fort Social Defence Services (effective from 01.01.2015).

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. Retrieved from http://socialjustice.nic.in/ SchemeList/Send/42?mid=48565 (Accessed on October 16, 2016) Chhina, G. S. (2016, January). Nigerians top list of foreigners held for drug trade: Police.

The Hindustan Times. Retrieved October 14, 2016 from http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/nigerians-top-list-of-foreigners-held-for-drug-trade/story-SOLKKcOAxlnXU8oqbBGKKI.html

Chouvy, P. A. (2010). Opium: uncovering the politics of the poppy. Harvard University Press.

Das, P. (2012). Drug trafficking in India: A case for border security. IDSA Occasional Paper No. 24, 37-38.

Das, P. (2012). Interview with senior BSF and NCB officials at New Delhi.

DNA. (2009, February). ATS arrests two cops for drug trafficking. DNA.Retrieved October 14, 2016 from http:// www.dnaindia.com/ india/report_ats-arrests-two-cops-for-drug-trafficking_1234928

Ethirajan, A. (2013, April). Nepal steps up battle against drug trafficker.BBC News. Retrieved October 13, 2016 from http:// www.bbc.com/news/business-21963600

Extent, Pattern and Trend of Drug Use in India. (2004). Trend of Drug Use in India. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

Farooqui, S. (2015, October). India becomes cocaine trafficking centre as drug flows rise of rich. The Guardian. Retrieved from https:// www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/ 2015/oct/01/india-cocaine-trafficking-drugs-rich-economic-growth.

Gautham. (2016, July). First instance of bitcoin and darknet based drug trafficking detected in India. Newsbtc. Retrieved October 14, 2016 from http://www.newsbtc.com/2016/07/17/bitcoin-darknet-drug-trafficking-india/ Hafeez, M. (2009, January). Saji stole at least 40 kg heroin.The Times of India. Retrieved October 14, 2016 from http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-01-28/mumbai/28014052_1_vicky-oberoi-ips-officer-saji-mohan-classique-club

Hmar In. (2011, July). Smuggling out of phensedyl bottles to Bangladesh. Retrieved January 17, 2012 from http://hmar.in/news/smuggling-out-of-phensedyl-bottles-to-bangladesh

Jain, S.K. (2006). The spurious drug menace and remedy. Health Administrator, 19(1), 33.

Jamwal, N. S. (2001).Terrorist financing and support structure in Jammu and Kashmir. Strategic Analysis, 26(1), 143. Kalyanaraman,S. (2010). India and the challenge of terrorism in the hinterland. Strategic Analysis, 34(5), 706-707.

Licit cultivation. Central Bureau of Narcotics. Government of India. Retrieved October 7, 2016http://cbn.nic.in/html/operationscbn.htm

Manwaring, M. G. (1994). National security implications of drug trafficking for the USA and Columbia. Small War and Insurgencies, 5(3), 382-383.

Ministry of Home Affairs. (2009). Annual Report 2009, pp.53-54. New Delhi: Government of India. Ministry of Home Affairs. (2016). Annual Report 2015-2016, p. 54. New Delhi: Government of India. Narcontrol. (2011, March). Narcotics Control Bureau Vol. 1 (1). Ministry of Home Affairs: Government of India. Narcotics and Affairs of Border. (2016). Manipur Police. Retrieved from http://manipurpolice.org/nab.htm. Narcotics Control Bureau. (1990). Annual Reports 1989 - 1990. New Delhi: Government of India.

Narcotics Control Bureau. (2001). Annual Report 2000-2001. New Delhi: Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

Narcotics Control Bureau. (2016). Annual Report 2009. New Delhi: Government of India. Otis, J. (2014).The FARC and Columbia‟s illegal drug trade. Wilson Centre, 3-4. Retrieved October 13, 2016 from https:// www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/Otis_FARCDrugTrade2014.pdf

Paul, M. (2011, May). Tripura feeds Bangladesh drug demand.The Times of India. Retrieved October 14, 2016 from http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-25 guwahati/ 29581533_ 1_phensedyl-cough-syrup-bangladesh

Pentalateral Cooperation on Drugs. (2016, October). Retrieved from http://en.oncb.go.th/document/e1-coop-5L-idx.asp (Accessed on October 14, 2016).

Shah, G. R. (1998). In Encyclopaedia of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Vol. III-Indian Initiatives), p. 888. New Delhi.

Shah, T., & Mashal, M. (2016). Bountiful Afghan opium harvest yields profits for the Taliban. The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2016 from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/04/world/asia/taliban-afghan-poppy-harvest-opium.html?rref=collection% 2F timestopic % 2FDrug%20Trafficking%20in%20Afghanistan&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=collection&_r=0

Shivananda, H. (2011). Nexus of drug trafficking and militancy exposed at New Delhi, IDSA Comment. Retrieved October 13, 2016 from http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/NexusofDrugTraffickingandMilitancyExposedatNewDelhi_shivanandah_130411

Taw, N. P. (2009, December). Joint Statement of the Twelfth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting. Retrieved October 14, 2016 from http:// www.bimstec.org/12th_MM_details.html The International Narcotics Control Board. (n.d). Annual Report 2010, p. 90. New Delhi: Government of India. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985) (Ind.) United Nations Office of Drug and Crime. (2010). World Drug Report 2010, p. 40. Vienna: United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime.

Unnithan, S. (2016). Pathankot or Mumbai 1993: corrupt officers sell India to terror. DailyO. Retrieved October 13, 2016 from http:// www.dailyo.in/ politics/pathankot-punjab-corruption-pakistan-1993-mumbai-blasts-dawood-ibrahim/story/1/8380.html

Unnithan, S., Aurora, B.V. (2013, November). Narco Nigerian. Indiatoday.in. Retrieved October 14, 2016 from http: // indiatoday. intoday. in/story/nigerians-drugs-narcotics-goa-police-drug-trafficking-nigerian-murder/1/326094.html

Vice, L.S., Shanta, S.A. S.N. (2001). Thapa and Ors. vs Union of India (Uoi) and Ors. Central Administrative Tribunal. Received October 13, 2016 https://indiankanoon.org/doc/948580/?type=print