India has moved one notch higher to 136th position in the 2018 Global Peace Index prepared by the international think-tank Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which was topped by Iceland. The report that covers 99.7 per cent of the world’s population and uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators grouped into three key domains — ongoing conflict, safety and security, and militarisation, noted that “the world is less peaceful today than at any time in the last decade”. Besides Iceland, some of the other most peaceful country in the world include New Zealand (ranked 2nd), Austria (3rd), Portugal (4th), Denmark (5th), Canada (6th), Czech Republic (7th), Singapore (8th), Japan (9th) and Ireland (10th).
On India, the report said, “Government efforts to tackle violent crime have paid off with an improved score, and falling levels of military expenditure, particularly on weapons imports, resulted in a slight improvement in its militarisation score”. However, “the concentration of power in the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi led to a deterioration in India’s score for political instability, and the country’s scores on the Political Terror Scale and internal conflicts fought, at 4 and 4.7 respectively, remain elevated”.
Region-wise, South Asia experienced the largest increase in peacefulness, with Bhutan, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal all improving.
In the South Asia region, India was ranked lower than Bhutan (19th on the list), Sri Lanka (67), Nepal (84) and Bangladesh (93).
The only countries which were ranked lower than India in the South Asian region were Pakistan (151 position) and Afghanistan (162).
Meanwhile, Europe is still the most peaceful region in the world, but its position has deteriorated for the third successive year.
“In the last decade, 61 per cent of the countries in Europe deteriorated due to higher levels of political instability, increased impact from terrorism, and increased perceptions of criminality. No single Nordic country is more peaceful now than in 2008,” the report said.
Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman of IEP, said, “We have progressed on many fronts in the last decade but reaching greater peacefulness in the world has remained elusive”. As per the report that ranks 163 independent states and territories, Syria is the least peaceful country followed by Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Somalia. Ongoing conflicts such as those in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan have, in the past decade, contributed towards a significant rise in battlefield deaths, a surging refugee population and an increase in terrorism, the report added.