New Delhi, June 15: In our fixation for Pakistan, we appear to have completely ignored the Myanmar border. Here is a statistic that would be of interest and also indicate the scale of the problem along the Indo-Myanmar border.
15 tonnes heroin is smuggled along the Indo-Pak border every year. In the case of the Indo-Myanmar border, it is 25 tonnes every year.
This statistic would once raise the issue that India will need to go beyond terrorism while it deals with Myanmar.
Going beyond terrorism:
India is working with Myanmar to rid the menace of terrorism. It is a well known fact that a large number of militants who have been targeting the North Eastern states of India have sought shelter in Myanmar. However with terrorism comes the other menace of drug smuggling.
Drug smuggling is always the highest funder for any terrorist groups which is one of the primary reasons as to why Dawood Ibrahim is so very important to the ISI.
While along the Pakistan border India has faced this problem of drug smuggling for long, the problem emerging in a big way today is from Myanmar.
Statistics would reveal that 25 tonnes of only heroine is being smuggled into India through the Myanmar border. A kilogram or heroin ranges between Rs 3 to 4 lakhs depending on the demand.
Heroin through Pakistan border cheaper:
There is a huge price difference between the heroin smuggled through Pakistan and the one being brought in through Myanmar.
The heroin smuggled in through the Pakistan border would ideally fetch anything between Rs 1 and Rs 2 lakh per kilogram. However the cost of the heroin brought in through the Myanmar border is double that amount.
This is largely to do with the fact that the demand for heroin the North Eastern states is much higher. Moreover the narcotic lords from Afghanistan and Pakistan are relying more on the Myanmar border to smuggle heroin as they realize that the border is not as closely guarded when compared to the one in Pakistan.
Militants demand bigger cut in Myanmar:
The other reason as to why the heroin smuggled through the Myanmar border is higher is because the militants facilitating this trade demand a bigger cut. The militants are in an advantageous situation and have found smuggling drugs through the Myanmar border easier.
Earlier the drugs were being smuggled in large numbers through the Bangladesh border.
However with India and Bangladesh relations improving considerably over the years, it has become difficult to use that route. The next best bet was the Myanmar border and the heroin trade has been flourishing since the past three to four years.
With the Pakistan border being guarded very heavily, drug lords have taken a liking for the Myanmar border. The militants taking shelter in Myanmar are aware of the problem that the drug lords face and hence have taken advantage of the desperation only to demand a higher cut.
Cooperation, need of the hour:
India will need to work out a solution with Myanmar just the way it did with Bangladesh. India and Bangladesh signed a series of pacts and one of them was to curb the flow of drugs and counterfeit currency.
The border forces of both the countries are involved in a four day discussion to chalk out ways of curbing the flow of both drugs and counterfeit currency through the borders.
National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval will raise several concerns with Myanmar when he holds discussions in the days to come.