Home Contact Us  

East Asia: Japan, Australia and the Koreas - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5123, 10 September 2016

Fragile States Index 2016

China and the FSI: Decennary Trends, 2007-2016
Chao Xie
Doctoral Candidate, Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University, Beijing

The Fund for Peace has released its twelfth annual Fragile States Index (FSI). As with previous editions, it presents yearly scores and rankings based on the levels of stability and pressures each state faces.. However, the changes in a year are hardly of any observable significance, especially for those not-so-fragile states, and even for the fragile ones, the situation should be considered in longer terms so as to acquire a more accurate understanding. What makes this year’s report more useful is an included report on decade trends over 2007-2016. With the range of observation extended, one can take a deeper look into the data to see into FSI’s and see how this world has changed over the last ten years, even though it might just provide a partial or biased representation of broad trends related to some countries, for instance, China and India.

First, light will be shed on the economic indicators. As per the FSI design, the parameters of scoring economic growth are supposed to influence each other in the FSI scoring system because for developing countries, rapid economic growth will inevitably mean a minus in Poverty and Economic Decline but a plus in Uneven Economic Development. In 2007, before the subprime mortgage crisis dragged the world financial markets into turbulence, the world was cheering emerging markets that were set to become new drivers of the world economy. China and India are on the anticipation list, and for this decade they are two leading states in terms of economic growth but still on the road to balancing rural and urban development and easing tensions between the richest 10 per cent and the poorest (it must be noted that FSI chose the 10 per cent gauge over 5 per cent which is more favourable to developed countries). Despite all their similarities in other areas, the FSI points for China and India should be a down trend and the instinct is that their general situation is becoming better and better. But the final scores are divided. China appears to have experienced significantly greater improvement between 2007-2016 than India, which gets +8.8 in a worsening trend. This is of course not a sound assessment and their ranking should be somewhat nearer to each other.

Social indicators with double weightage may present a bigger picture. In the past decade, both the countries have had challenges on aspects of Refugees and IDPs and Group Grievance. Tension and violence between ethnic groups exists in both countries. China is trying to calm its north western frontier; the violence in Northeast India and J&K does not see a prospect of settling down in the coming years either. Despite all the challenges, a reasonable estimate is that no significant changes have occurred, and the change will be even less significant when starting the calculation from 2007. Taking a step back to assess the Index, should such challenges add more points to their fragility, their cores being about the same in these categories?

In the category of Demographic Pressure, the FSI implies that population growth is a bad thing as the description about it is weighted with negative words such as malnutrition, food and water scarcity, and disease. What the FSI turns a blind eye towards is that nowadays countries are increasingly aware of what demographic changes would bring about. For China, without a good supply of human labour, there would have had no economic miracle for three decades. With human dividend coming to an end, it has timely terminated the single-child policy to curb the ageing curve. India, on the other hand, is set to become the youngest country by 2020 and is enjoying an outstanding advantage from its youth surge. But the FSI scoring design is again more favourable to Western countries, especially considering some countries are suffering from the demographic deficit and an ageing population. To make it simple, demographic structure can be a core element of state capacity rather than fragility, not to mention that countries like China and India with stronger economies are better equipped to counter demographic challenges.

What is concealed here? The composition of the Index’s indicators shows that more weightage is given to political (and military) indicators as it has six categories. If the FSI can be of any policy indication, it encourages states to imitate the Western path of development and that they would have a brighter chance to better their ranking if they prioritise political over social and economic developments. Cuba has undertaken unprecedented political and economic reforms in the past few years, and has earned itself significant improvement in the trend ranking. However, some failed experiences have definitely proven the opposite as well, because states tend to become fragile in the process of political improvement and more fragile if domestic insurgency or external interventions are underway. Obvious cases are those countries affected in the Arab Spring; for example, Tunisia got 9 points in a worsening trend and others, including Yemen, Syria and Libya, went to a critical worsening stage. Therefore, for states like China and India, it will be wiser to put the FSI implications aside and insist on their own path of development.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
China: How is Nuclear Security Understood?

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.