Maoist movement was one of the biggest threats to India’s internal security, says a global body which has ranked it as low as 143 among 162 countries in its peace index.
At the same time, the report by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) also said sporadic conflict with its neighbours threatens its external security.
The country’s diverse population and the recent emergence of Telangana have also resulted in several “pockets of ethnic conflict”, it said, adding India scores poorly on the Political Terror Scale – scoring “4 out of 5” (with 5 representing total state of suppression) thus further nurturing the ground for “political strife”.
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“The economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of India’s levels of violence was estimated to cost the national economy USD177 billion in 2013. This is equivalent to 3.6 per cent of India’s GDP, or USD145 per person,” a Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) report said.
“Corruption is rampant in Indian politics – as indicated by India’s low rank of 143 out of 162 on the Global Peace Index (GPI),” it said, adding India has seen no significant change in peace since last year and it has fallen in its rank by two places in this year’s index.
“It has also come to light that the Maoist insurgency movement which boasts about 20,000 armed rebels is one of the strongest internal threats to India with attacks being carried out on security officers and civilians alike. In concurrence, India is ranked number 4 out of 159 countries in the Global Terrorism Index,” said the study.
Noting that India’s spending on defence was amongst the highest in the world, the report attributed this spending mainly on strained relations between India and its neighbours – Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.
“If India could improve its overall levels of peace, the dividend that would flow from this would substantially improve the country’s economic growth rates.
“This can be achieved by a renewed government focus on building the underlying qualities that create and sustain peaceful societies such as low levels of corruption, well-functioning government and equitable distribution of resources,” said Steve Killelea, IEP founder and Executive Chairman.