Violence cost India's economy 9% of its GDP last year
- According to India's Union Minister of State for Home, 822 incidents of communal violence took place last year.
- A report by the Institute for Economics and Peace shows violence cost India $1.2 trillion in 2017.
- This equates to roughly $600 per person in India.
Getting 1.3 billion people to live in harmony, not only with each other, but with the rest of the world is no mean feat.
India is no stranger to conflict - internal or external. Last summer, the country experienced a significant military standoff with its neighbour China for three months, over the latter's construction of a road in Doklam, an area that is a disputed territory of Bhutan.
Domestically, the tenuous political situation in the state of Kashmir showed no signs of letting up last year, while protests, riots and communal violence in other parts of the country also continued. In fact, around 822 incidents of communal violence reportedly took place in India last year, according to Hansraj Ahir, the Union Minister of State for Home.
Violence has come at a hefty price for India's economy
This violence represents a significant cost to India's economic growth. According to international think tank, the Institute for Economics and Peace, violence cost the country nearly $1.2 trillion (₹80.1 trillion) in constant exchange rates, or 9% of its GDP in 2017. This equates to roughly $600 per person in India.
According to a report on the economic cost of violence containment, the yearly cost of violence containment is calculated by a variety of 13 different categories, including the cost of funding UN peacekeeping missions, the level of expenditure on the military and the cost of terrorism.
India did, however, move up one place to 136 on the Global Peace Index, a ranking of 163 countries owing to lower military purchases and a slight improvement in violent crime statistics. At the bottom of the list was war-torn Syria, which lost a staggering of 68% of its GDP, or $42 billion, last year due to violence. Iceland took the top spot in the index, losing only $830 million due to violence.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continued to be the world's least peaceful geographic region, hosting 4 of the world's 10 most violent countries. South Asia proved to be the world's second least peaceful region, amid ongoing conflicts in Pakistan and Afghanistan - which lost 13% and 63% of their GDP, respectively, in 2017.
The overall cost of violence in the world has risen 16% since 2012, when Syria's civil war started, reaching $14.76 trillion last year. This is equivalent to 12.4% of the world's GDP.