In what will strengthen Brand Bhutan and add another feather to the country’s cap Bhutan has been declared the 16th most peaceful country in the world sharing space with some of the most peaceful countries in the world.
This is also Bhutan’s highest even rank on the index which measures peace and stability in 162 countries. Bhutan was 20th on the same index in 2013 and 40th in 2011. Bhutan this year is ranked above even other countries like Netherlands, Germany and Singapore.
The ranking is done after a detailed study of 22 indicators to measure the country’s peacefulness. These indicators include factors like political instability, relation with neighbouring countries, level of violent crime, terrorist activity, number of armed services personnel, military expenditure and others.
In the country’s case analysis, the report says that Bhutan has succeeded in establishing long standing internal peace and its transition from Monarchy to a full fledged Democracy, although recent, has been remarkable.
The report says that Bhutan held its second general elections and even though the Opposition won the transfer of power was efficient and smooth.
The report says that Bhutan’s move to a democracy in 2008 is commendable, particularly if its transition is compared to that of Nepal. The report says that in the case of Nepal the Monarchy was stripped of its power and the path to democracy was laid by a violent Maoist insurgency movement and violent pro-democracy protests.
In contrast the report says that for Bhutan the transition was relatively smooth. It says that as a result Bhutan’s score improved both on the GPI and Democracy index. It says the Himalayan nation which uses Gross National Happiness as an alternative to GDP elected a new government in 2013.
“Although the new administration seems to be focusing less on the GNH index there is little to indicate that the tiny nation’s largely peaceful history will change,” says the report.
According to the report Bhutan has experienced very few instances of internal and external conflict, a largely smooth transition of power from Monarchy to Democracy and good relations with it neighbors which are at the crux of the country’s peaceful existence.
“Bhutan’s culture is steeped in the ancient traditions of Buddhism, at the core of which is a strong non-violence pledge, Bhutan provides universal healthcare and free education for its population and as a consequence internal conflict and crime are almost non-existent,” says the report.
Given its geographic position, nestled between China and India, Bhutan has strategic significance, making it an important ally for India, according to the report.
The report says that there are no apparent threats to the country’s political stability and this will limit the probability of disruptions to internal peace.
“The peaceful nature of its population, combined with a policy focus on general happiness and wellbeing, should further ensure that Bhutan remains on a stable path throughout its first years as a democracy,” says the report.
The GPI measures the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. It is the product of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks with data collected and collated by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The list was launched in May 2007 and updates have been made on an annual basis since then.