Topic of the Day – Golden Crescent

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Golden Crescent

The Golden Crescent is the name given to one of Asia’s two principal areas of illicit opium production (with the other being the Golden Triangle). The Golden Crescent is located at the crossroads of Central, Southern and Western Asia. This space overlaps three nations, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran forming a major chain of drug producers and suppliers. The mountainous peripheries of these three nations define the crescent. It is also called as the “Silk route of drugs”.

  • Afghanistan is the largest producer of Opium, producing over 90% of the world’s Opium production (non-pharmaceutical grade). The majority of opium produced in Afghanistan comes from the Kandahar and Helmand provinces
  • The Golden Crescent also has domination in Cannabis Resin market owing to high resin yield in the region.


The Golden Crescent emerged as the modern-day opium producing entity in the 1950s. In 2001, during the invasion of Afghanistan as retaliation to the terrorist attacks by the al-Qaeda against the United States of America, the Opium production took a huge hit producing 90% less Opium as compared to the production in the previous year. However, at the peak of production of Opium, the Golden Crescent produced 8000 tons of Opium in 2007, while the total production of Opium in the world in that particular year was 9000 tons, displaying a near monopoly in Opium production.


Golden Crescent – the route through which drugs are making their way into Punjab:

Though Punjab does not grow Opium or Weed, the region consumes about Rs. 7500 crores worth of drugs every year. The drug cartels enter India, mainly Punjab through the Golden Crescent route. Punjab is both a market as well as a transit point for drugs smuggled from the Golden Crescent. Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts sharing the border with Pakistan are part of the drug smuggling route which the Pakistan or Afghanistan based drug smugglers use to route their consignments.



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