Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking: Non-Traditional Security Threats in Post-Soviet Central Asia

Publication Date01 July 2021
Date01 July 2021
AuthorSubrata Biswas
Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking:
Non-Traditional Security Threats
in Post-Soviet Central Asia
Subrata Biswas1
The post-cold war world has become susceptible to multiple non-traditional security threats that are
no less formidable than the traditional security threats. Drug trafficking poses one such serious non-
traditional security threat and drug abuse provides its fuel. Not only do the drugs destroy the very
fabric of human resource in a region where trafficking operates and thereby reduces communities to
hollow card-boxes, but such trafficking also generates loads of dirty money which fosters the growth
of non-State actors engaged in subversive activities. This article argues that following the fall of the
erstwhile Soviet empire, the entire Central Asia region has become a hotbed of such non-traditional
security threats which is being nourished by an enormous demand for drug abuse in Russia and the
scenario spells trouble for India as well. The article also contemplates a constructive role for Russia in
this regard.
The debate on traditional security threats and non-traditional security threats has a relatively recent
genesis. Till the fall of the old-world order, that is, until the end of the Cold War, nations belonging to
one bloc were confronted with the spectre of invasion of their sovereignty by those of the rival bloc.
There was hardly any State that really did not belong to either of the blocs. Even the nations that
championed the Non-Alignment Movement were not immune to the threats that emanated from the
ambience of the Cold War that prevailed prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Berlin wall epitomized divisions and enclosures both in the physical plane and in the intellectual
realm in the pre-1990 world which was essentially a fragmented space. Nothing travelled freely across
the national frontiers. Borders were almost synonymous with barriers. Whether it be for ideas,
commodities, people, technology or medium of transactions, the world prior to 1990 presented a terrain
where right of way was more of a privilege than entitlement. States thus were rather insulated to any
unknown threats. The only threat that mattered to the States then involved a concern about their
sovereignty, which often materialized in the form of aggression by other States.2
1 Special Excise Commissioner (Enforcement), Government of West Bengal. Formerly, Zonal Director, Narcotics Control Bureau,
Government of India.
2 Campbell Craig & Fredrik logevall, ameriCas Cold War: The poliTiCs oF inseCuriTy (harvard universiTy press, 2012).
Asian Journal of Legal Education
8(2) 247–258, 2021
© 2021 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058211025964
Corresponding author:
Subrata Biswas, Excise Directorate, Government of West Bengal, 32, B.B. Ganguly Street, Kolkata 700012, West
Bengal, India.
E-mail: specialcommissionerenforcement@gmail.com

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