Sydney: India has slipped seven notches to 129th position among the 149 countries in this year`s Global Peace Index compiled by leading think-tanks, although it fares better than Pakistan at 145th position and the 133rd-ranked Sri Lanka.
The index, created jointly by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace and the Economic Intelligence Unit, places the country`s other immediate neighbours in a relatively better position - 87th for Bangladesh, 82nd for Nepal and 36th for Bhutan.
India was ranked 122nd last year, 107th in 2008 and 109th the year before. At the other end of the spectrum, New Zealand has been ranked as the country most at peace for the second consecutive year, followed by Iceland and Japan.
Iraq is ranked the least peaceful among the 149 countries and in close company are Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Israel and Russia in that order, said the latest index released here Tuesday.
The index is measured on the basis of number of external and internal conflicts fought, estimated number of deaths from organised conflict internal and external, level of organised conflict and relations with neighbours.
To India`s credit, in the attached report on methodology and findings, it is mentioned only in the individual chapters on Pakistan and Afghanistan and how New Delhi helped the peace process in the region.
"Pakistan`s overall score deteriorated substantially and dropped by three places to 145th in 2010. That its score and rank did not fall further is in part because of an improvement in the measure of relations with neighbouring countries," the report said.
"This reflects a slightly improved position with India a year on from attacks by militant Islamists linked to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba on Mumbai, in late November 2008," the report said.
"Overall, government-level relation between India and Pakistan are much stronger than in the past," it said, adding the return of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi will mean stable policy towards Pakistan.
Then on Afghanistan, the study said, even though its relations with neighbouring countries registered an improvement in 2009, they remain tense which contributed to a drop in the nation`s overall score and an upward shift to 147th position.
"Ties with India have strengthened slightly, underlined by the country`s $1.1 billion effort to help in Afghanistan`s reconstruction."
At the global level, the report says the world has became less peaceful, with intensification of conflicts and instability linked to the downturn since 2008, with several countries seeing sharp increases in homicides, violence and fear of crime.
"A 25 percent reduction in global violence would free up $1.8 trillion annually -- enough to pay off Greece`s debt, fund the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals and meet the EU`s 2020 climate and energy targets."