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India ranks low in global peace index

Thursday, 19 June 2014 - 7:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

A prominent think tank says India ranks 143 among 162 countries in the Global Peace Index (GPI). The reasons attributed to the low ranking are the Maoist movement, corruption, terrorism, regional conflicts and sporadic conflicts with its neighbours.

The estimated cost to the national economy to contain strife in the country last year was $177 billion. This is equivalent to 3.6% of India's GDP or $145 (equivalent to approximately Rs 8,400 per person), the study reveals.

Talking to dna over the phone from the UK, Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a prominent think tank, said: "Our research shows that India suffers chronically from international tensions and widespread internal conflicts."

The study has been conducted taking 22 indicators into account. In concurrence, India is ranked fourth among 159 countries in the Global Terrorism Index.

The study is significant as IEP had, in 2008, listed Ukraine, Syria and Egypt as the top countries at risk. And as envisaged, there is turmoil in these countries which are now plagued by civil unrest and tensions.

In South Asia, which remains at the bottom in the overall regional ranking, India stands fifth, behind Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Only, Pakistan and Afghanistan, rank worse than India.

"Terror activities are high in India with 245 people getting killed in the past one year," said Steve. The study estimates that there are around 65 operational terror groups in the country.

In comparison, 2,600 people were killed in Afghanistan, and 1,987 died in Pakistan in the same period.

The study adds that despite its democratic credentials, India scored poorly on political terror scale—4 out of 5 (5 representing total state of suppression)—further nurturing the ground for political strife.

"It's more about the poor state of human rights in the country," said Steve.

On India's taut relations with neighbours like Pakistan and China, the study says this had made the country into one of the highest spenders in purchase of arms. There was 111 per cent increase in weapons import between 2008 and 2013.

Iceland tops peace index
Iceland tops the 2014 Global Peace Index. It is followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Belgium and Norway.

Peace likely to deteriorate
The 10 countries where peace is most likely to deteriorate in the next two years are Zambia, Haiti, Argentina, Chad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Burundi, Georgia, Liberia and Qatar.

Cost to the economy
Economic impact of containing/dealing with global violence last year was estimated to be $9.8 trillion, a sum equivalent to 11.3% of the global GDP (equal to twice the size of the GDP of 54 African countries).

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