The Global Peace Index (GPI) is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. Global Peace Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a Sydney-based global non-profit.
India ranks 143 among 162 countries and fifth out of seven in south Asia for the second year in a row. The cost of containing violence in the country rose by over 90%, from $177 billion in 2013 to $341.7 billion in 2014, or 4.7% of the country’s GDP.
India’s position in the index has worsened since 2008 when it was ranked 138 ,Iceland has been ranked the world’s most peaceful country, while Syria fell to the bottom of the pile.
“Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP has risen in India over the past one year. There has also been an increase in the number of security officers and police per hundred thousand people as well as a slight increase in the number of people in jail,” .
Incidentally, India ranks fourth among the 10 countries with the highest cost of violence containment and figures on the list of nine most militarized states. “India suffers from two issues. For starters, it is a very big nation, and it is difficult to hold so many ethnic groups together. India also has Maoist and border insurrections. It shares a border with Pakistan, which itself has a lot of issues to deal with regarding its internal security,”.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) replaced South Asia at the bottom of the regional ranking. South Asia’s ranking improved solely because conditions deteriorated at a faster rate in the MENA region. Meanwhile, Europe remained the world’s most peaceful region, with some European countries achieving historic levels of peace.
According to the report, the impact of violence on the global economy reached $14.3 trillion, or 13.4% of global GDP, in the past year, “equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK”. The report says the number of people killed in conflicts globally rose from 49,000 in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014.
“If global violence were to decrease by 10% uniformly, an additional $1.43 trillion would effectively be added to the world economy. To put this in perspective, this is more than six times the total value of Greece’s bailout and loans from the IMF, ECB and other Eurozone countries combined,” said Killelea.
In attempting to estimate peacefulness, the GPI investigates the extent to which countries are involved in ongoing domestic and international conflicts. It also seeks to evaluate the level of harmony or discord within a nation; ten indicators broadly assess what might be described as a safety and security in society. The assertion is that low crime rates, minimal incidences of terrorist acts and violent demonstrations, harmonious relations with neighboring countries, a stable political scene and a small proportion of the population being internally displaced or refugees can be equated with peacefulness.
The paper also notes increased regional tensions in the Asia-Pacific region during 2014:The South China Sea remains a potential area for conflict, with countries involved in the dispute (China, Vietnam and the Philippines) all showing a worsening of their scores in the 2015 index. Although the likelihood of further military skirmishes in the disputed waters is high, a large-scale military engagement remains unlikely.