The Platform


India is one of the biggest markets for drug smuggling, consumption, and manufacturing. The country has a long coastline and an extensive network of waterways, making it ideal for drug traffickers.

For years, drug smuggling has been a major problem, and recent reports suggest that elements of the government, namely members of the military and border officials, have been involved in narco-smuggling.

According to media reports, several border patrol officers have been arrested on charges of drug smuggling. In one case, border patrol officers were caught trying to smuggle heroin across the border with Pakistan. In another case, border patrol officers were found to be involved in the smuggling of marijuana.

In July 2021, the Navy arrested seven people, including two officers, for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking ring. The officers were accused of providing protection to drug smugglers operating in the Arabian Sea. In another instance, officers were found to have smuggled large quantities of cocaine from South America.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there has been a steady increase in drug trafficking cases in India over the years. The data indicates that in 2019, there were 21,191 cases of drug trafficking registered in India. In 2018, there were 18,456 cases.

These incidents are a cause for concern, as they highlight the vulnerability of India’s porous borders and the need for greater vigilance in countering drug trafficking by regional countries and international watchdogs. The involvement of security personnel also raises questions about the integrity of these institutions and the effectiveness of their anti-smuggling measures.

The involvement of government and military officials in drug trafficking is a cause for concern as it undermines not only India’s security and stability but also affects a number of other countries. The officials who are involved have access to sensitive information and resources, which they can use to further their criminal activities. Moreover, their involvement in drug trafficking erodes trust in the government and military institutions.

India’s appetite for drugs shouldn’t surprise anyone. The country has the largest population in the world, and it is a developing country with a massive middle class and a huge chunk of the population remains mired in poverty.

India’s failure to effectively combat and tackle drug trafficking can be attributed to a combination of factors, including its geographical location, inadequate law enforcement, lack of political will, corruption, and public awareness campaigns to address Indians’ growing appetite for drugs.

While India is not a major drug-producing country, it is a transit point for drug trafficking and has been identified as a major hub for the production and distribution of synthetic drugs, including methamphetamines.

India shares borders with several countries that are major drug producers and transit points, including Afghanistan and Myanmar. Its long and porous borders make it an attractive transit point for drug traffickers.

Corruption is widespread in India, and drug traffickers are known to bribe law enforcement officials and other government officials to facilitate their operations. This has further enabled drug trafficking to thrive in India.

India’s law enforcement agencies are understaffed, lack specialized training and equipment, and are often unable to detect or interdict drug shipments. This has created a situation where drug traffickers can operate with relative impunity.

India is facing a growing drug abuse problem, particularly among its youth. This has created a market for drug traffickers, and the demand for drugs has further fueled the drug trafficking problem.

Drug trafficking is a complex global issue that involves multiple factors, including production, transit, and consumption. The first step in dealing with this growing problem is for India to admit that it has a problem with drugs which the government of Narendra Modi has been hesitant to do. Until it does, this problem will only get worse.

Awais Abbasi is an independent researcher and holds a graduate degree in Political Science from the University of Bristol. He is currently​ serving as visiting fellow at the University of South Asia.