Bhutan is the most peaceful place to live in South Asia, according to Global Peace Index Report 2014, the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness.
The GPI 2014 Report, which was published by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace on Wednesday (18 June), Bhutan is ranked 16th peaceful place to live in world among 162 countries included in the study. The other nearest rank is for Nepal which stands at 76th position. Bhutan was ranked 107 out of 167 countries in 2012.
The report appreciated the country’s peaceful transition from monarchy to democracy. As a result, Bhutan’s scores on both the Global Peace Index and the Democracy Index improved in 2013.
The report says, 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 its neighbours are at the crux of its peaceful existence.
Bhutan provides universal healthcare and free education for its population and as a consequence internal conflict and crime are almost non-existent. However, its emphasis on the Buddhist culture had resulted in violent ethnic unrest in the late 1980s and 1990s: a census conducted in 1988 classified a large proportion of the Lhotshampas, an ethnic Nepali community most of whom
practise Hinduism, as illegal in Bhutan.
Although there have been no reports of the expulsion of any of the remaining Lhotshampas in recent years, the minority community has been increasingly alienated from mainstream society.
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. In respect of external peace, there is only a minimal risk of an escalated conflict, which would be likely to entail a dispute between China and India, the report noted.