India is ranked 8th with a score of 7.353 according to the eighth edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report. The report has been released by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), a global think tank headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
Although India has recorded 20% less terrorist attack and death caused by such attacks in 2019, it still finds itself in the top ten most affected countries by terrorism in the world. There were 558 terrorist attacks and 277 deaths from terrorism registered in India in 2019.
This report is produced on the basis of data acquired from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) that contains records of all the terrorism incidents since 1970.
The trends and patterns of terrorism incidents are studied to form an index where all the countries are ranked based on their scores, on a scale of zero to ten. A higher score will result in a higher rankings, thus reflecting the impact of terrorism on that particular country. A score of zero means that no terrorist attack was recorded in that country.
India is ranked 8th with a score of 7.353 in the index, just below the likes of Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan.
Although India recorded 20% less terrorist attack and death caused by such attacks in 2019, it still finds itself in the top ten most affected countries by terrorism in the world. These rankings immensely dent the economic progress as well as stability and global image of the country.
There were 558 terrorist attacks and 277 deaths from terrorism registered in India in 2019.
Unlike most of the other terrorism prone countries which deal with only specific disturbing elements like jihadists, communists, or separatist, India has to tackle terrorist activities on several fronts, be it in Kashmir (Pakistan sponsored terrorists and insurgents), Punjab (Khalistani movement), Assam (a secessionist movement), and some areas of Central India, which is dubbed as “Red Corridor” where re-emergence of Naxalite factions is causing immense discomfort to the Government of India.
Among the top ten countries most impacted by terrorism, the number of deaths resulting from terrorist activities is the lowest in India. The average of 0.5 deaths per attack is better in comparison to 2.1 in the other nine counties. The reason behind such a low lethality rate might be that bombings or attacks carried by Maoists or terrorists in Kashmir are often targeted towards police and military personnel followed by civilians.
There are a large number of terrorist groups in India, however many are seeking political recognition and often their attacks are not aimed at causing fatalities. Over half of terror attacks in 2019 were non-lethal with only 27 per cent of attacks resulting in more than one death. Only 14 of India’s 35 active terrorist groups were responsible for fatalities in 2019.
Notably, in 2019, the Maoists, and terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) were responsible for 50% of the total attacks, and two-third of the total deaths in India. However, on one hand, the deaths caused by Maoist attacks has seen a decline of 33%, on the other hand the lethality of JeM’s attack has increased by 69%.
Jammu and Kashmir remained the region most impacted by terrorism in 2019, with 165 attacks, resulting in 103 deaths, most of which were perpetrated by Islamist groups. The three most active groups were Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Hizbul Mujahideen, and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Both JeM and LeT have links with Al-Qaeda and Taliban, and they have also been active in Pakistan and Afghanistan, though most of their attacks are carried out in India.
In a deadly incident on February 14th, 2019, forty-one people were killed in Jammu and Kashmir by a suicide bomber. Inspired by Pakistani terror outfits, an explosives-laden vehicle had detonated targeting a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy along the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
The second most impacted state was Chhattisgarh which falls in the centre of the “Red Corridor”. A total of 85 attacks were carried out by Maoist extremists in 2019 causing 53 deaths.
Compared to last year’s numbers, the total number of death from terrorism has fallen by 15.5% to 13,826. The number of deaths has been constantly on a decline since the last five years after peaking in 2014.
Afghanistan has been ranked as the most impacted country by terrorism second year in a row. Its score of 9.5, termed as “very high”, is the result of several deadly incidents occurred due to the actions of major terrorist outfits like Taliban and Khorasan.
However, Afghanistan has recorded 1654 fewer deaths caused by terrorism incidents in 2019 when compared to 2018, amounting to a fall of 22.4%.
Iraq and Nigeria continue to follow Afghanistan in the top three, although Nigeria (plagued by Boko Haram) has also seen 2043 lesser deaths accounting to terrorism.
Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, neighbouring Mali, Togo, and Ivory Coast, has witnessed the largest increase of 590% in terrorism related deaths last year, taking the toll to 593.
Sri Lanka suffered the worst terror attack last year when eight co-ordinated bombings on Easter Sunday took 266 lives.
The global economic impact of terrorism in 2019 amounted to US$26.4 billion, a fall of 25 per cent from 2018. This was mainly driven by a fall in terrorism deaths in the Middle East and North Africa.
However, South Asia remains the region most impacted by terrorism in 2019 where deaths by terror incidents have risen for two consecutive years, despite the improvements in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
The Taliban continues to be the world’s deadliest terrorist group in 2019. However, terrorist deaths attributed to the group declined by 18 per cent to 4,990. Whether the peace talks in Afghanistan have a substantial impact on terrorist activity is yet to be seen.
Notably, the Covid-19 pandemic might have worsened the situation for terrorism prone countries as their governments are forced to shift their attention towards public health sector.
Terrorist groups are constantly trying to increase their influence in order to grow their network. The major drivers of influence are media coverage, recruitment of sympathisers, and finances. These are the issues which need to be addressed to effectively fight against terrorism.
Several socio-economic factors are associated with terrorism are common to all countries. However, there are also noteworthy differences between economically developed and developing countries. Some socio-economic factors associated with terrorism include -:
- High levels of group grievance and a weak rule of law is correlated with terrorism across all countries.
- In case of more economically developed countries, social disenfranchisement and exclusion play an important role in terrorism.
- In less economically developed countries, religious or ethnic ruptures, and corruption are more strongly associated with high levels of terrorism.