Political economy of drugs and insurgency: the case of Punjab
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Punjab is a strategically and economically important state for India. It shares a border with both Pakistan, a historical rival, and with the state of Kashmir, which is at the center of India's conflict with Pakistan. Punjab is also the breadbasket of India and provides a number of recruits for the military, both of which are essential for food and physical security for an economically rising country. In the 1980s, Punjab experienced a decade-long violent insurgency caused by grievances arising from the unequal distribution of benefits from the Green Revolution. The state's economy has been in decline for the past decade, which, along with a rise in drug use and trade, represents grounds for a crisis that threatens its post-insurgency stability. The unaddressed drug epidemic allows the emerging drug-crime-terror nexus to thrive. However, national and state-level elites and politicians continue to use identity as a mobilization tool for engaging with the population, mirroring the setting that led to the previous insurgency. Specifically, this research provides an insight into the growing possibility of instability in Punjab. This research derives implications for stability in a border state with porous borders experiencing increased drug use.
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