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What is the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle? Know about its effects on India

Tulika Tandon

India is sandwiched between Golden triangle and the Golden Crescent which is why it is vulnerable to the trafficking of drugs.  India had earlier reported a substantial increase in seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants, most of which are suspected to be methamphetamine. The reasons behind the spike were suspected to be increased trafficking across the Golden Triangle and the increased use of maritime trafficking routes along the Andaman Sea, crossing Indian territorial waters.

The issue with the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle:

India's proximity to the golden crescent and golden triangle has made it vulnerable to the trafficking of drugs and narcotics. The flow of illegal drugs from two fronts that is the North Western and North Eastern side leads to violation of national security which is the foremost concern of the country now. 

What is the Golden Crescent?

  1. This region of South Asia is a principal global site for opium production and distribution
  2. It comprises Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.
  3. The Indian states that are affected by the zone are Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. 
  4. The proximity of these states to Indo Pakistan Border have made them potential markets and supply chain catalysts of Hashish and heroin. 

Why was the Thar Desert used to smuggle drugs?

  1. It was earlier a route of supply of opium from Malwa to Karachi in the 1980s and also was a traditional route in Chinese Colonial Era.
  2. The desert is a vast barren piece of land is poorly guarded and has a low-security level.
  3. Closure of Balkan passage through Iran after Iran-Iraq war forced the rerouting of the supply chain from India. 
  4. Sikh militancy in the 1980s aggravated the drugs trafficking in India in the Punjab region.  

What is the Golden Triangle? 

  1. This region lies towards the North-East border of India bordering Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet at the confluence of Mekong and Ruak. Myanmar holds the second spot after Afghanistan in illicit supply of morphine and heroin. 
  2. The illegal supply channels through India and compromises with its internal security and poses threat to its citizens too. 
  3. Myanmar produces 80% of the world's heroin. The heroin after production is trafficked to the US, UK and China via Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and India. 

Why Golden triangle uses India for smuggling

  1. The security at the Indo Myanmar border was not tighter till very recent amendments.
  2. Rough terrain and densely covered forests provided for an easy hideout for smugglers
  3. Local tribes and other residents are involved in the criminal activity out of sympathy as there is ample poverty, unemployment and illiteracy in the North Eastern areas. 

What Are Narcotics?

As per the World Health Organization, WHO the narcotics drugs are any substance that modifies the consumer’s perception, behaviour and cognition, mood or his motor functioning. It is estimated that currently more than 35 million people globally suffer from drug disorder and illicit trafficking of drugs is becoming an issue including in India.

Way Forward

A comprehensive review of the military and the governance is required at the borders. Centre-State relationships need to improve and work for combating the issue together. Methods to deal with the illegal trafficking of drugs can also be institutionalised in the coming years. People must be made aware of the pros and cons of using drugs or being a party to the process of supply of the drugs. 


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