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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Violence costs India 4.7% of GDP in 2014
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Violence costs India 4.7% of GDP in 2014

India ranked 143 out of 162 countries on the Global Peace Index for 2014

The index gauged global peace using the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarization. Photo: HTPremium
The index gauged global peace using the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarization. Photo: HT

Mumbai: Violence comes at a very high cost. It cost India $341.7 billion, or 4.7% of its GDP, in 2014, the fourth highest cost in the world, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI).

India ranked 143 out of 162 countries on the Index, published on Tuesday by Australia-based global think-tank Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). It said the country is in a ‘low’ state of peace.

Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world, Syria the least peaceful. Pakistan ranked 154 with a ‘very low’ state of peace. The index gauged global peace using the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarization.

In 2014, 69 countries reported deaths from terrorism, up from 60 in 2013, highlighting the increasing use of terror tactics.

About 50 million people, or 0.75% of the current world population, are displaced, the study said.

These events took away $14.3 trillion from the global economy and it amounted to 13.4% of global GDP in the last year, according to the report. The cost of violence increased by $1.9 trillion or 15.3% since 2008. This was due to increased deaths from internal conflicts in countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena region), increased displacement of people and refugee support, and GDP losses from conflict.

“Reducing conflict is a crucial plank in ensuring continued world economic recovery. If global violence were to decrease by 10% uniformly, an additional $1.43 trillion would effectively be added to the world economy," said Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the IEP.

To put this in perspective, this is more than six times the total value of Greece’s bailout and loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank and other euro zone countries combined, he said.

India has always ranked in the bottom 25 when it comes to peace, said Killelea. “This is mainly because of ongoing conflicts in Kashmir, Maoist insurgency, ethnic group clashes and the fact that you live among conflict-ridden nations such as Pakistan, Myanmar and Afghanistan."

In the last eight years since the GPI was first launched, India has deteriorated in peace by 6%, largely due to a drop in the indicators measuring deaths from external conflicts with Pakistan, China; political terror and perceptions of criminality.

One of the other important indicators for state of peace is the level of militarization. India, the largest importer of arms in the world, has emerged as a highly militarized nation, along with nations such as the US, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.

“This is mainly because of the nuclear sophistication of the country and size of military needed for the size of India," said Killelea.

The report found that over two billion people live in the 20 least peaceful countries in the world, compared with less than 500 million in the 20 most peaceful.

The mechanism to create long-term peace is to ensure low level of corruption, create a strong business environment and ensure equitable distribution of resources. Acceptance of minorities will also help in avoiding internal conflicts, said Killelea.

On India, he said economic interdependence with China and Pakistan will help decrease existing conflicts.

Over the last eight years, peace in 86 countries has deteriorated, while only 76 countries showed an improvement. “The peaceful countries are becoming more peaceful, while the less peaceful ones are becoming lesser," said Killelea.

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Published: 17 Jun 2015, 10:16 AM IST
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