Drug Trafficking as a Non-Traditional Security Threat to Central Asian States

DOI10.1177/0973598414535055
Date01 December 2013
Published date01 December 2013
Article
Bhagaban Behera Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations,
Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. E-mail: b.bhagaban@gmail.com
Drug Trafficking
as a Non-traditional
Security Threat to
Central Asian States
Bhagaban Behera
Abstract
The traditional concept of security is too narrow and includes military
security alone, and the state was its only and ultimate reference point.
Advocates of non-traditional security threats shifted the reference point of
security to individual and the ultimate objective of both security and state
is to provide human beings with an environment within which he can be at
his best self. A host of issues related to an individual’s societal, economic,
and political lives thus became part of the new security discourse threat-
ening to dilute the concept of security in a traditional— military sense.
Despite ideological differences, certain issues were regarded to have
direct consequence for individuals sharing all political ideologies and all
value systems. These issues are transnational in nature and entail a trans-
national approach to address the non-traditional security concerns. Drugs
and trafficking in drugs are such issues that as a threat to human life tran-
scend national boundaries. Trade in illicit drugs has the largest societal,
political, and economic consequences and threatens the fabric of societies
through addiction, crime, and disease. It exacerbates corruption in weak
states and impairs their economic and political functioning. Central Asian
states have been a victim of growing international drug trafficking, which
pose serious threats to the larger region, including China, India, and Russia.
In this backdrop, this article tried to focus how drug trafficking, as a non-
traditional security threat, pose a serious threat to the national security of
the Central Asian Republics in particular and the larger region in general.
The article also attempted to explore how the narcotics trade has affected
national and transnational security in the region to a large extent.
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
17(2) 229–251
2013 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
Los Angeles, London,
New Delhi, Singapore,
Washington DC
DOI: 10.1177/0973598414535055
http://jnr.sagepub.com
230 Bhagaban Behera
Jadavpur Journal of International Relations, 17, 2 (2013): 229–251
Keywords
Central Asia, Non-Traditional Security Issues, drug trade, illegal narcotics,
terrorism, Social and Human Security
Non-traditional Security Threats
Since the end of the Cold War, the need to widen the concept of security
and distinguish between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ security threats has been
increasingly accepted, but the implementation of strategies to face ‘soft’
security threats has been less prominent (Institute for Security and
Development 2011). However, the problem that we now face is that
of the separation between hard (traditional) and soft (non-traditional)
security threats. It has been a positive trend to elevate the so called
new security threats, but there has been a failure to understand in what way
old and new security threats overlap and in many ways in fact reinforce
each other. There has been a demand to expand, broaden, and deepen the
concept of security to include issues that were earlier considered to belong
exclusively to the domain of domestic politics. The traditional concept of
security is too narrow both in scope and application. It just included the
military aspect of security, and the state was its only and ultimate refer-
ence point. Advocates of non-traditional security build a case for shifting
the reference point of security to an individual as, according to them, the
ultimate objective of both security and state is to provide human beings
with an environment within which he can be at his best self. This in turn
necessitates that security must be analyzed in reference to the security
requirements of the individual and not of the state alone. A host of issues
related to an individual’s societal, economic, and political lives thus
became part of the new security discourse threatening to dilute the tradi-
tional concept of security. Owing to ideological differences, and differ-
ences in value systems, not all issues related to all aspects of human life
could be considered as issues of security importance but certain issues
were realized to have direct consequence for individuals belonging to all
political ideologies and all value systems. Those issues are broadly
understood as non-traditional security issues in international politics. As
theses are non-traditional in nature, the approach to deal with traditional
security issues is not applicable in dealing with these issues. Most of

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT