The Global Terrorism Index [GTI] 2020 ranks India as 8th in the world on a list of countries most affected by terrorism in 2019, with 558 incidents that killed 277 and injured 439. Further, the report marks South Asia as region worst affected by terrorism for the second year in a row.
"Compared to other countries amongst the ten most impacted, India faces a wider range of terrorist groups, with Islamist, communist, and separatist groups active across the country", the report states. But, over half of the attacks carried out in India were non-fatal and just over 27% of the attacks resulted in more than one death. 14 of India's 35 active terrorist groups were responsible for fatalities in 2019.
The Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad [JeM] were responsible for over two-thirds of deaths in 2019. The JeM also took responsibility for the Pulwama attacks, the 17th deadliest terrorist attack in world in 2019 that killed 41 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state, followed by Chattisgarh, are the top two regions in India afflicted by terrorist-related activities.
India ranks 8th in the world on the basis of its score on the GTI - 7.353. It ranks better than Pakistan (ranked 7) but lower than the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines, which rank 9th and 10 respectively. A higher score, and thus a higher rank (1 being the worst) shows a country more severely affected by terrorism.
But, since 2002, India's rank has improved substantially. In 2002, India was the second worst country in the world affected by terrorism and was in the top 5 until 2012.
Afghanistan ranks first with a score of 9.592 and Iraq second with 8.682. Afghanistan replaced Iraq as the country worst affected by terrorism in 2018, a position it has held even in 2019 (the corresponding report year). Despite these ranks, the single worst terrorist attack in 2019 took place in Sri Lanka where coordinated incidents killed 266 persons and injured 500 on Easter Sunday.
Terrorism on the decline globally
Globally, the the report suggests that the direction in which terrorism is going is less grim.
In 2019, terrorism caused 13,826 deaths, down 15% from 2018 and 59% from its peak in 2014. Worldwide deaths due to terrorism have been on the downturn for over five years straight. Even in Afghanistan, deaths due to terrorism have reduced in 2019 for the first time in three years. The Taliban remains the world's deadliest terror group, but saw the fatalities attributed to them decline 18% to 4,990.
While terrorism had a global economic impact of $26.4 billions, it was 25% below what was seen in 2018 and nearly 77% below its levels in of $116 billion in 2014.
However, the decline of terrorism in the Middle-East and South Asia have been corresponding with a rise of the so-called Islamic State in Sub-Saharan Africa and a surge of far-right terrorism North America and Western Europe. Far-right terrorism had a 44.9% larger economic impact in North America, and one incident of such terrorism in 2010 has snowballed to 49 such incidents in 2019.
COVID-19 and terrorism
The report says that while governments running deficits to fight COVID-19 could divert resources away from counter-terrorism activities, the pandemic-induced restrictions have posed a roadblock in the operations of terrorist groups.
Prevention of crowding, travel restrictions and curfews have made it harder for terrorist group to recruit and provide fertile targets to carry out attacks. However, this may not apply as cpmprehensively to more local groups or lone terrorists.
ISIS, for example, exploited the pandemonium caused by the pandemic and seized a port town north of Mozambique in September. Violent attacks in Nigeria in the first six-months of 2020 have exceeded what it has seen in 2019.
The index is prepared by the Institute of Economics and Peace, an Australia-based nonpartisan non-profit. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, a US Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland provided the dataset. The GTI score is computed by taking into account the incidents of incidents, fatalities and injuries by country in a given year and weighing them by 1, 3 and 0.5 respectively. The fourth element is the economic damage caused by terrorism, split into four buckets (0,1,2,3) with 0 being unknown and 3 being damage of more than $1 billion. A score is then obtained from weighing these components by year and taking the weighted average over five years.
Find the index report here.