India's peace score "deteriorates", Middle East chaos adds to global violence
Beyond the Middle East, the world was actually becoming more peaceful, researchers behind the 2016 Global Peace Index said.
London: India was on Wednesday ranked low at 141st place on a Global Peace Index with violence taking a USD 679.80 billion toll on its economy in 2015.
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has compiled a list of 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.
Iceland was ranked as the world's most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria.
Syria has been named as the least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
The world has become increasingly violent with deaths from conflict at a 25-year high, terrorist attacks at an all-time high and more people displaced than at any time since World War Two, the 2016 Global Peace Index showed today.
The annual index, which measures 23 indicators including incidents of violent crime, countries’ levels of militarization and weapons imports, said intensifying conflicts in the Middle East were mostly to blame.
But beyond the Middle East, the world was actually becoming more peaceful, researchers behind the index said.
Although India's ranking has been improved by two spots, yet the country's peace score has "deteriorated" over the past year -- which means the slight rise in ranking could be due to worse performance of others.
The report said that in the last decade, India's position has deteriorated when it comes to peace "by 5 percent largely due to deterioration in the indicators measuring UN peacekeeping funding and the level of political terror".
Within South Asia, Bhutan was ranked best (13th overall rank), while India was fifth followed by Pakistan at sixth (overall 153rd) and Afghanistan at sixth place (global 160th).
The report said, "India's scores for ongoing domestic and international conflict and militarisation have deteriorated slightly. The country remains vulnerable to acts of terror and security threats at its shared border with Pakistan.”
"As such, the number of deaths caused by externally organised terror strikes has risen over the year."
At the same time, Sri Lanka saw the greatest upswing in its score in the region and the report attributed the country's increased peacefulness to "better relations with neighbouring countries, particularly India".
It further said that "violence impacted India's economy by USD 679.80 billion in 2015, 9 percent of India's GDP, or USD 525 per person".
The economic impact of violence on the global economy touched USD 13.6 trillion or 13.3 percent of gross world product. The amount is also equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment, it added.
Rankings of 81 countries have improved but the deterioration in another 79 outweighed these gains.
IEP Founder and Executive Chairman Steve Killelea said increasing internationalisation of internal conflicts has coincided with UN peacekeeping funding reaching record highs in 2016.
However, peace building and peacekeeping spending remain proportionately small compared to the economic impact of violence, representing just two per cent of global losses from armed conflict, he noted.
"In 2015, violence containment expenditure in India totalled USD 679.8 billion PPP, an increase of 7 percent from 2008. At 9 percent of GDP this was ranked 65th in the world," Killelea said.
As per the report, addressing the global disparity in peace and achieving an overall 10 percent decrease in the economic impact of violence would produce a peace dividend of USD 1.36 trillion. This is approximately equivalent to the size of world food exports.
(With Agency inputs)