South Asia’s failing states

July 2, 2009

Foreign Policy magazine has just released its 2009 list of failing states or those at risk of failure and South Asia makes for sobering reading.

All of India’s neighbours, except for tiny Bhutan, figure in the list of top 25 states that are faltering, although their rankings have improved marginally over the previous year.

So Afghanistan remains at number 7 in the table of failing states topped by Somalia. Pakistan is ranked 10th, just marginally better than its 9th position in last year’s table which perhaps reflects the belief that the state has begun to fight back the militants who threaten its existence.

(The higher you are on this list, based on 12 indicators measuring state cohesion and performance, the closer you are to failure)

You can see the full report of The Failed States Index 2009 here.

But just to distil it, here are the rankings for South Asian nations as they changed over the past year. Myanmar is ranked 13th which is what it was in 2008.

Bangladesh has moved down to 19th position from 12th the previous year, reflecting perhaps the return of an elected civilian government there.  But it remains at risk and as a Reuters analysis here points out there is a tendency to neglect the militant threat in Bangladesh, with all the attention focused on the violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka takes the 22nd spot and Nepal 25rd, both slightly less at risk this year than in 2008 but still very much in the world’s top 25 states.

And India? Foreign Policy puts it at 87th position, a healthy score for a country that some thought wouldn’t survive especially during the Sikh revolt of the 1980s, and other insurgencies in that period.

Giant neighbour China, according to the editors of the magazine, is more at risk with a score of 57.

[Photo of a U.S. Marine in southern Afghanistan]

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

[…] The rest is here: India: A billion aspirations » Blog Archive » South Asia's failing … […]

Posted by India: A billion aspirations » Blog Archive » South Asia's failing … | India today | Report as abusive

How can India survive in this environment when US, EU and China are actively investing in evil forces to destabilize India?

Posted by Ruth | Report as abusive