India improves ranking, is No 87 in index
The world is no more a safe place to live in. The number of nations -- plagued with economic crisis, natural disasters, terrorism, internal strife and political instability -- is on the rise. A recent index of failed nations of the world, compiled by the Foreign Policy journal, goes on substantiate this.
The top 10 failed states in the 2009 list are: Somalia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Guinea and Pakistan.
India is placed 87th among the 177 countries under study, with its score showing an improvement over the previous year. It stands out among its neighbours Pakistan (10), Myanmar (13), Bangladesh (19), Sri Lanka (22), Nepal (25) and China (57).
Image: A Kashmiri protester throws a rock towards a Jammu & Kashmir cop during a protest
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters
Pakistan, in bad company again
Pakistan, split in the middle with terrorist attacks and facing an economic crisis, remains among the top 10 failed states.
The country, placed ninth among all countries last year in terms of its overall achievement, has improved its position only by a notch -- it is placed 10th in the index.
Pakistan ranks just behind Iraq (6) and Afghanistan (7).
Image: An internally displaced boy, who fled a military offensive in Swat, at a UNHCR tent
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters
Despite growing economy, China is 57th
Despite a growing economy, China is ranked 57 in the list.
The fifth annual Failed Nations Index is a collaboration between the Fund for Peace -- an independent research organisation, and Foreign Policy.
Using 12 indicators of state cohesion and performance, compiled through a close examination of more than 30,000 publicly available sources, it ranked 177 states in order from most to least at risk of failure. The 60 most vulnerable states are listed in the rankings.
Image: A paramilitary policeman stands guard in Tiananmen Square in Beijing
Photographs: Christina Hu/Reuters
Iran drops down the rankings
Iran dropped 11 spots in the rankings this year. It has been ranked 38 in the 2009 list. (It was ranked 49 in 2008)
With an already faulty economy, a 'vampire' State mismanaging it further, and a global recession on top of all that, it is no surprise that Iran is faltering, says the journal, adding however that the State is not failing -- indeed, it is succeeding quite well -- in one rather important respect: the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Image: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on during his first news conference after the presidential elections
Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters
Unstable times in Himalayan kingdom
Dogged with political instability, the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal is ranked 25th in the list.
According to the report, 'a failing state is one in which the government does not have effective control of its territory, is not perceived as legitimate by a significant portion of its population, does not provide domestic security or basic public services to its citizens, and lacks a monopoly on the use of force'.
Image: A boy puts on a 'Young Communist League' headband before taking part in an anti-government motorcycle rally in Kathmandu
Photographs: Shruti Shrestha/Reuters
Sri Lanka, on the recovery path
Sri Lanka's rankings have improved in the 2009 Index with the country dropping down from the critical category last year to the danger category in the latest rankings.
The Island nation is ranked 22 in the latest report while last year it was ranked 20, and was among the critical countries headed by Somalia and included Zimbabwe and North Korea.
Image: A Lankan soldier stands guard during the resettlement of refugees to their homes in Mannar, western Sri Lanka
All's not well on India's eastern border
The ranking for Bangladesh has to do with widespread corruption, social unrest and bad human rights record. Media reports say that although the new government was able to gain some momentum initially, the Bangladesh Rifles' mutiny and the rising cost of living with a sliding quality of life contributed to a high vulnerability within the state.
Image: A child plays with the Bangladesh national flag
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters
North Korea, it's all about Kim Jong Il
North Korea ranks 17. According to Foreign Policy, vast majority of North Koreans live in poverty.
And the State's routine experimentation with high-grade weaponry -- including tests of nuclear technologies this year and last -- has meant international isolation and UN Security Council opprobrium.
Image: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visits the headquarters of the 7th infantry division at an undisclosed place in North Korea
Myanmar, heading for a collapse
The 2009 Index lists Myanmar as in critical danger of state collapse due, primarily, to the misuse of power by the country's ruling military government.
Though holding steady at number 13 in the global rankings, Myanmar's cumulative 2009 score deteriorated by an additional 1.2 per cent from a year previously, reports said, adding that the nation's worst categorical scores came in 'Uneven Development' and 'De-legitimisation of the State', while the best of the poor scores were achieved in the areas of 'Human Flight' and 'External Intervention'.
Image: Members of the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines hold a protest
Photographs: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters
This Coast ain't clear yet
The country is considered 'failed' despite outside intervention and a power-sharing arrangement with rebels.
Image: Ivory coast ex-rebel forces stand guard in the rebel stronghold of Bouake
Photographs: Luc Gnago/Reuters
Haiti, paradise in trouble
Image: A demonstrator seeks more aid for Haiti outside the
Photographs: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Somalia tops the list once again
Somalia claims the number 1 slot on the Failed States Index for a second year in a row.
According to Foreign Policy, militant attacks forced the country's fledgling transitional government literally into a corner; by December 2008, it controlled merely a few blocks in a country of 627,000 square km.
Image: A Somali refugee woman holds her newborn infant in the maternity ward in a health clinic at Dagahaley camp in Dadaab in Kenya's northeastern province
Photographs: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
A nation living well below potential
Over the years, repeated sectarian violence and political inaction has displaced thousands of people in this African nation. It is a country living well below its potential.
Image: Residents ride in the back of a van as they flee with their farm products
Photographs: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters
Ethiopia is thirsty, diseased...
Inadequate sanitation has made water-borne diseases the number one cause of infant deaths in the country -- where 300,000 children under age 5 die every year, says Foreign Policy.
Image: A boy drinks water from a pond. Prolonged drought, lack of water and limited pasture have led to conflict between the Somali and Borena ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia
Photographs: Irada Humbatova/Reuters
Yemen is the next Afghanistan?
Yemen is placed at 18th in the rankings.
'Yemen may not yet be front-page news, but it's being watched intently these days in capitals worldwide. A perfect storm of state failure is now brewing there... Many worry Yemen is the next Afghanistan: a global problem wrapped in a failed state,' says the journal.
Image: Police personnel stand guard on a police vehicle outside a state security court during the trial of 16 Al-Qaeda men
Photographs: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
The Timor saga
East Timor ranks 20th in the rankings.
East Timor faces debilitating problems with poverty, violence, and unrest. It won its independence in a bloody conflict a decade ago; an inter-military conflict led to fighting and a humanitarian crisis in 2006.
The country has the world's highest fertility rate, and 20 per cent of Timorians live on less than a dollar per day.
Image: Australian navy ship HMAS Perth is seen as Portuguese policemen patrol near the house of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado