Maritime narcotics trafficking in the Western Indian Ocean: Threat to regional maritime security

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Maritime Affairs: Journal of the National Maritime Foundation of India (2021)



Illicit drug trade, Makran Coast, regional maritime security initiative, Western Indian Ocean


Maritime narcotics trafficking in the Indian Ocean has increasingly become a major security concern for India and other countries in the region, with the Afghanistan–Pakistan corridor being the primary conduit facilitating illegal drug trade via the sea-route in the Western Indian Ocean. However, there is a gap in understanding the extent and manner of the criminal syndicate involvement in the maritime narcotics drug trafficking in the region. This commentary looks at the emerging maritime-bound illicit drug trafficking in the region and also analyses the modus of operandi of the criminal syndicate in Pakistan to evade detection from the law-enforcement. It also examines the role of Combined Maritime Force (CMF) and regional navies in detecting and tracking the maritime narcotics trafficking in the Western Indian Ocean.