India amongst 20 least peaceful nations in world
New Delhi: India is now in the ranking of most dangerous nations, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2011.
The Global Peace Index tracks 23 indicators, from military spending to crime levels to conflict and disputes with neighbours.
India’s rank has fallen seven points. The South Asian country now ranks 135 out of 153 countries. With this new ranking, India is amongst the 20 least peaceful nations in the world, along with Pakistan (146) and Afghanistan (150).
"India's score remains the same on most parameters used to measure peacefulness. Homicide and crime rates in India, too, are a lot lower than many other countries. The fall in rankings is largely due to an increasing perception of criminality in society," an Indian daily cites Steve Killelea, founder of the Global Peace Index, as saying.
Only three years after its financial meltdown destroyed its banks and prompted some of its first ever riots, Iceland returned to its position at the top of the list as world's most peaceful country by ousting New Zealand.
Somalia falls to the bottom, replacing Iraq.
Social unrest is making the world less peaceful for the third year running and economic strains could point to rising risks in China, the GPI noted.
The Global Peace Index showed economic factors are at the heart of unrest including the "Arab Spring".
Rising food prices have helped trigger revolts in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, with some leading to serious bloodshed, while austerity measures in Europe have also helped bring protesters on the streets.
There were some positive trends too. Despite conflict in Ivory Coast and Libya and cross-border tensions between North and South Korea, interstate wars are generally becoming less common and relations among countries are improving.
Killelea also notes that the key country to watch was China, which could experience violent unrest if the economy slowed in the years ahead.
Well functioning governments, relatively homogenous societies and equitable distribution of wealth, good secondary education and press freedom were amongst the most important factors in ensuring peace, he said.
(With Agency’s inputs)