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Bhutan: 16th most peaceful country in the world

Jumped 91 places in two years on the index

Ranking: Bhutan has been ranked the 16th most peaceful country in the world in the latest Global Peace Index (GPI), an improvement of 91 places since 2012.


A total of 162 countries were ranked.

The Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank attempting to build greater understanding of the relationship between economics, business, and peace produces the GPI. The GPI is collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarisation.

The index is made up of 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators and covers 99.6 percent of the world’s population.

While the European countries of Iceland, Denmark, and Austria made up the top three most peaceful countries globally, Bhutan is the second most peaceful Asian nation after Japan (ranked 8). The first 28 countries are ranked as having a “very high” state of peace.

In this region, Nepal comes in at 76, Bangladesh at 98, China at 108, India at 143. However despite improvements in their scores, South Asia still remains at the bottom of regional rankings.

In the GPI report, Bhutan is one of 20 countries selected for an analysis based on its relative peaceful state despite its institutional strengths.

“Bhutan has succeeded in establishing a longstanding internal peace and its transition from monarchy to a full-fledged democracy, although recent, has been remarkable,” it is pointed out in the GPI report. “Bhutan’s firm move to democracy in 2008 is commendable, particularly if its transition is compared to that of Nepal,” it stated.

“Although the new administration seems to be focusing less on the gross national happiness index, there is little to indicate that the tiny nation’s largely peaceful history will change,” it is added.

“The country has experienced very few instances of internal and external conflict-a largely smooth transition of power from monarchy to democracy and good relations with its neighbours are at the crux of its peaceful existence,” it is said.

The peaceful nature of the Bhutanese, as a result of Buddhism, combined with a policy focus on happiness and wellbeing should ensure that Bhutan remains on a stable path in its first years as a democracy, it is pointed out.

Centre of Bhutan Studies president, Dasho Karma Ura, said that the founder of GPI is expected to visit Bhutan next year given his interest in Gross National Happiness. The GPI was founded by Australian technology entrepreneur and philanthropist, Steve Killelea.

“As Bhutan scores so well in GPI, he is interested to know the Kingdom first hand,” he said.

Dasho Karma added that some aspects of the GPI methodology are similar to GNH but factors taken into account are vastly different.

For instance, Dasho said that GPI focuses on the external conditions of peace while GNH also takes into account the internal conditions such as mental state.

“It is primarily a comparative index of the outbreak of violence, crimes and conflicts and their causalities, possession and transactions in mass weapons and small arms, size of military personnel and military expenditure, incidences of terror and violent demonstrations, ratio of imprisoned people etc.,” he said.

“It is clear that GPI is a sensitive index of the external conditions of peace that will correlate with internal or psychological conditions of peace. GPI represents outside conditions necessary for collective, societal peace.”

Dasho also said that GPI corroborates GNH



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