The April 15 arrest of a Peruvian national who tried to smuggle 1.2 kg of cocaine worth Rs 6.5 crore (over $1 million) in the international market into India, has brought into focus, once again, India’s vulnerability to the international drug menace.
India is both a market and a transit state for drug trafficking; drugs synthesized here travel via the Balkan route and are then sold on the streets of North America and Europe. In the past year alone, we have seen several arrests of individuals from Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Myanmar and Nepal.
While the Peruvian was only a courier or a drug ‘mule’, he is believed to be part of a larger transnational drug syndicate – the Bolivian drug cartel. This revelation is alarming, as the new drivers of drug trafficking are making Bolivia the heart of the drug problem in South America.
Bordered by Peru, the world’s largest cocaine producer, Brazil- the world’s second largest drug consumer, along with its own production of cocaine and inconsistent efforts by the Evo Morales government, provides Bolivia a free ride on the highway to narcotic hell.
Judging by the quantum of drugs discovered and its purity (it was 95% pure cocaine), it seems that the Colombian-supplied African drug cartels are not the only players in town.
India has long suffered from the side effects of drug such as high rates of addiction, HIV and Hepatitis C cases. K.P.S Gill, former DGP Punjab Police, recently claimed that the drug abuse was a more pressing issue than terrorism.
The growing incidence of drug addiction among the youth in Punjab and India’s Northeast states, each bordering the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle (euphemisms given to Asia’s chief areas of opium production), has been recognized by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on several occasions- calling it a ‘3D problem- darkness, destruction and devastation’.
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