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Ashok Kumar asked: How badly is India affected by Myanmar being a part of the Golden Triangle?

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  • Pushpita Das replies: Proximity to the ‘Golden Triangle’ together with a porous and poorly guarded border provides the enabling environment for traffickers to smuggle heroin and psychotropic substances into the country through the India-Myanmar border. Heroin, which was introduced in the mid-seventies in India’s Northeast, became easily available in the region after 1984 and by 1990 the region witnessed a substantial rise in the consumption of heroin. This fact can be ascertained by the massive jump noted in the number of addicts which increased from under one per cent in 1990 to over 50 per cent in 1991 and 80.01 per cent in 1997. However, heroin smuggled into the Northeast is not for large-scale commercial sale but mainly for local consumption. Statistics also indicate that the heroin of South East Asian origin constitute only one to two per cent of the total heroin seized in the country. At the same time, it could be argued that the low narcotics seizure figures could also be because of poor vigil along the international border. The fact that officials continue to seize consignments of heroin in Guwahati and other cities such as Kolkata and Delhi indicate that the trafficking of heroin from Myanmar is witnessing an increasing trend.

    Apart from heroin, psychotropic substances and medicinal preparations containing codeine produced in the Golden Triangle are also smuggled into India in large quantities. In fact, by the late 1990s there was a significant shift in the choice of drugs being abused in the Northeast. Compelled by stringent anti-drug laws and the rising prices of heroin, drug addicts in the region opted for amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and Methamphetamine (Yaba) which are produced in large quantities in Myanmar. In sum, India’s Northeast is pretty badly affected by narcotics and drugs trafficked from the Golden Triangle. However, paucity of data on drug addiction makes it difficult to fully ascertain the magnitude of the problem in the country.

    Posted on April 25, 2019

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