Home Contact Us  

Radicalism - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5149, 10 October 2016

Fragile States Index 2016

FSI and South Asia
Monish Gulati
Associate Director, Society for Policy Studies, New Delhi
E-mail: m_gulati_2001@yahoo.com

The Fragile States Index (FSI) is an annual ranking of 178 nations, conceived with the core notion that weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community and in a highly interconnected world, ‘pressures’ on one fragile state can have repercussions for the larger global community too. The FSI is based on the premise that the reasons for state weakness and failure are complex but not unpredictable, and can hence be quantified.

Furthermore, the FSI aims to take the understanding of weak and failing states beyond identifying and analysing broad social trends, by adopting a mixed approach using qualitative and quantitative techniques to establish patterns and trends. The strength of the FSI is its ability to distil millions of pieces of information into a form that is suitable to analyse, easy to comprehend and informative.

The FSI generated by the Fund for Peace (FFP) is based on its proprietary Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST) analytical platform. The Index is designed to be a critical tool in not only identifying the normal pressures that all states experience, but also to provide an indication in the time domain when such pressures begin to impact the stability of a state.

The 2016 FSI is the 12th edition of the annual Index. In the case of stability of South Asian countries, it considers India along with Bhutan and Maldives be as being at an ‘elevated warning’ stage as distinct from the six higher (and more stable) classifications that range from ‘very sustainable’ to ‘warning’.

The remaining South Asian countries find themselves evaluated at more alarming stages with Sri Lanka  at ‘High Warning’; Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar at ‘Alert’, and Pakistan being graded even lower, at ‘High Alert’. In terms of past performance, the Maldives is seen to show strong improvement and India is seen to be worsening.

These outcomes in the FSI raise a few questions about its methodology, gathering and processing of data, moderation of the value of parameters implemented for diversity etc. For example, in the case of Pakistan, does the FSI take into account the complex nature of its insurgency before evaluating the fact that it is one of the few countries in the world that is using its air force against its own citizens and military courts with tentative jurisprudence to try the captured/suspected insurgents? This fact is possibly recognised by the FFP itself, which has sought to remedy the lacunae by comparing a country with its own past parameters in addition to those of other states/countries. However even this adjustment to the FSI does not seem to adequately capture the context in each country individually.

When considering relative assessments, the question that comes to mind is whether the index gives an adequate representation of the South Asia region? However, the lack of detailed knowledge of the FSI’s assessment process limits the discourse to its outcomes. Therefore, since the FSI seeks to inform and address the global community and shapes its outlook towards a country or a region, it would be appropriate to ask if it as a concept takes into account the contribution to global peace and development by the target country or region. Therefore, does it recognise the contribution of Bangladesh or India to UN peacekeeping while it penalises countries for having an UN mission or peacekeeper on its soil? Does it discount ‘forced interventions’ and the destabilising influence of certain countries to a country or a region. The FSI appears to penalise the country whose sovereignty is violated rather than the intervener.

The next question is as to whether the FSI takes into account new age threats/issues. Has the Maldives been penalised for its failure to prevent the outflow of Jihadis of Maldivian nationality to Iraq and Syria or should Belgium be penalised for a lax security setup which has cause certain elements to use its soil to launch attacks in France? On the other hand, does it accord merit to a country’s efforts to combat climate change, which draws on its economic resources or do those initiatives fall outside the evaluation framework?

The FSI appears to have an ‘end of pipe’ or a one-dimensional approach to evaluating the stability of a state. It is alright when one is informing the target state, but when the index is for the consumption of the global community, it needs to factor in more interrelated issues to aid balanced and informed decision making.

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

Related Articles
TCA Raghavan,
"FSI’s Broader Conclusions: Methodology, Empirical Trends and Current Realities," 6 October 2016
Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman,
"Bangladesh: A Conflict Shatter Zone," 6 October 2016
Aaranya Rajasingam,
"Sri Lanka: Fault-lines in the Transitional Justice Process," 23 September 2016
Preet Malik,
"FSI and Myanmar: More Clarity Required," 12 September 2016
Chao Xie,
"China and the FSI: Decennary Trends, 2007-2016," 10 September 2016
Derek Verbakel and Marie Pavageau,
"Introduction: Assessing the Index," 9 September 2016
Rana Banerji,
"Fragility in Pakistan," 9 September 2016
Sadia Tasleem,
"Measuring Fragility: A Case Study of Pakistan," 9 September 2016

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
Russia-Turkey: Implications of the New Arms Deal

Russia-Japan: Onset of a Thaw?

Afghan Peace Process: Headed Down a Blind Alley?

The Pathankot Terrorist Attack and Indias Afghanistan Policy

Indian Military Aid for Afghanistan: Syrian Lessons

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.