Bhutan ranks top in GPI among South Asian countries

Ranking 17th out of the 163 countries across the globe, according to the report of the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2023, Bhutan is the most peaceful country among the South Asian countries. The report states that there is a wide disparity in the South Asian regions, with some countries as peaceful as Bhutan and, at the same time, one of the least peaceful countries in the world, such as Afghanistan, ranking 163th.

Bhutan is also the highest-ranking country on the GPI outside of Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America.

However, the report shows that Bhutan experienced the highest deterioration due to deterioration on the Political Terror Scale, as well as 50 percent deterioration on the violent demonstrations indicator.

Nonetheless, despite the Militarization domain deteriorating by just under three percent, Bhutan remains one of the least militarized countries in the world, with the 15th lowest overall score on the Militarization domain.

Meanwhile, overall, South Asia recorded a slight deterioration in peacefulness over the past year and remains the second least peaceful region overall. The average level of peacefulness in the region increased by 0.13 percent, owing to deteriorations in the Militarization and Safety and Security domains.

Four of the seven countries in South Asia experienced improvements in peacefulness, while three deteriorated. There is a wide disparity between the least and most peaceful countries in the region, with Bhutan ranked 17th overall and Afghanistan being the least peaceful country in the world in the 2023 GPI.

Nepal ranked second under the South Asia countries, occupying the 79th position across the globe, followed by Bangladesh, which ranked 88 out of 163 countries; Sri Lanka, in the 4th position under South Asia but 107th across the globe; India, and Pakistan, respectively, with the 126th and 146th positions.

Under the Safety and Security domain, across the globe it shows a deteriorated by 5.4 percent between 2008 and 2023. Of the 11 indicators in this domain, nine deteriorated and two improved. The largest deterioration occurred in the violent demonstrations indicator, with 120 countries seeing the impact of violent demonstrations increase between 2008 and 2023.

Average scores on this indicator have deteriorated in every region around the world.  Under the safety and security domain, Bhutan ranked 21 across the globe, with Finland topping the list, followed by Japan and Afghanistan in the last ranking.

The report also shows that Bhutan ranked 127 across the globe under the economic cost of violence. In the year 2022, the economic impact of violence in Bhutan amounted to USD $697,410,527, which is 5% of the country’s GDP.

Meanwhile, Iceland topped the list as the world’s most peaceful country, a position it has held since 2008, followed by Denmark, Ireland, and New Zealand, while Afghanistan has been the least peaceful country in the world for the past eight consecutive years.

The GPI covers 163 countries comprising 99.7 percent of the world’s population, using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, and measures the state of peace across three domains: the level of Societal Safety and Security; the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict; and the degree of Militarization.

Of the 23 indicators in the GPI, ten recorded improvements, eleven deteriorated, and two recorded no change. The Safety and Security and Ongoing Conflict domains both deteriorated, while the Militarization domain recorded a slight improvement, continuing a long-term trend of improvement.

The report shows that over the last 15 years, the world has become less peaceful, with the average country score deteriorating by five percent. Of the 163 countries in the GPI, 95 recorded deteriorations, 66 recorded improvements, and two recorded no change in score.

Sixteen of the 23 GPI indicators deteriorated between 2008 and 2023, while eight improved. The average level of country peacefulness deteriorated by 0.42 percent in 2023, according to the GPI. This is the ninth consecutive year that global peace has deteriorated. The average level of peacefulness has only improved twice year-on-year since 2008.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu