By Annie Banerji
Perhaps the finger-pointing at neighbouring Pakistan and the talk of Afghan militancy destabilising the region that New Delhi so often rolls out should be reconsidered. The neighbourhood may well be dangerous, but India is no model pupil.
According to the 2011 Global Peace Index, an initiative of the Institute of Economics and Peace, which evaluates 153 countries based on the level of ongoing conflict, safety and security and militarisation, India is the world’s 135th most peaceful country, falling seven positions from last year.
This year’s rankings, which indicated a decline in the levels of peace for the third consecutive year overall, placed Iceland in the top spot as the most peaceful country and Somalia as the world’s least.
India’s performance is high on some of the indicators, for instance, level of organised internal conflict, political instability, and relations with neighbouring countries, for which reason India is a part of the 20 least peaceful countries in the world along with Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.
India’s unfortunate state of safety and security not only emerges largely from religious conflict with active groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, but also Naxalism, an ideology of militant Communist groups. Terror activity is not concentrated in a particular region in India, but it has poisonously seeped into almost all areas of the country.