The most dangerous countries in the world
Peace is under threat across the world. Faced with a high probability of terror attacks, human rights issues and internal strife, India finds itself in infamous company in the Global Peace Index. India ranks 122nd among 144 countries.
While the survey gave an encouraging 9.58 out of 10 to India for its electoral process, which provided many options and freedom to voters to exercise their franchise, it ranked the country at a disappointing 3.4 out of 10 in terms of the level of corruption prevalent.
The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors ranging from a nation's level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the level of respect for human rights.
Image: A policeman faces protesters in Srinagar
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: Pakistan
India's neighbour, Pakistan has slipped 10 places from last year.
The onslaught on Taliban militia in Swat Valley and the subsequent displacement of millions of people (now being termed as the largest shift in the country's population since Partition), high level of political instability and the easy access to weapons of minor destruction -- all have contributed to Pakistan being ranked 137th out of 144 countries.
Image: An internally displaced girl, fleeing military operations in the Swat valley region, holds a pot over her head while standing in line for curry and bread at the UNHCR camp
Photographs: Adrees Latif/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: US
The United States fared well this year, climbing to 83rd in the world, up 14 places since last year.
The jump is partially because of an improvement in the indicator for potential terrorist acts in the US and the general decrease in other countries' rankings relative to the US.
But although the US saw an increase in ranking despite the economic crisis, some factors -- such as the ease of access to weapons, a large prison population and ongoing combat deaths -- prevented it from ranking higher this year.
Image: A US Navy sailor stands with a US Marine aboard the USS Iwo Jima as the ship passes the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour
Photographs: Mike Segar/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: Iraq
For the third consecutive year since the launch of the peace index, Iraq has been ranked last.
Overall, the GPI revealed that small, stable and democratic countries ranked highest; 14 of the top 20 countries are western or central European democracies.
Image: Destroyed vehicles after bomb attacks in Baghdad's Nahdha neighbourhood
Photographs: Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: Afghanistan
Afghanistan and Somalia follow Iraq in the peace index. GPI reasons Afghanistan's 143rd position to the state of ongoing conflict and upheaval in the country.
The report says the global economic recession and an increase in violent conflict and political instability around the planet took a toll on world peacefulness in 2008.
Image: US soldiers keeps watch at the scene of a suicide car bomb attack in Parwan province
Photographs: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: Somalia
A strife-torn Somalia is ranked 142nd in the global index.
Aid agencies say Somalia now has one of the world's worst and most neglected humanitarian crises, thanks to the political unstability in the Horn of Africa.
Image: A boy plays with a gun at a village in Somalia's capital Mogadishu
Photographs: Omar Faruk/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: Israel
Israel is positioned 141st out of 144 countries.
Israel received the lowest possible 'peace' scores for military capability, aggregate number of heavy weapons, number of armed services personnel and volume of imports of major conventional weapons.
Image: An Israeli security man stands guard near the West Bank
Photographs: Nayef Hashlamoun/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo is ranked 139th.
The DRC remains politically unstable given the presence of numerous rebel groups in Eastern territory, including the notorious Forces democratiques de liberation du Rwanda.
Image: Congolese government soldiers sit in the rain at the frontline near Kibati, north of Goma in eastern Congo
Photographs: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka ranks 125th in the Global Index.
The results of the 2009 GPI show that as the global economy headed into recession in 2008, many of the indicators used by the GPI to measure peace, such as the likelihood of violent demonstrations and political instability, increased, while others -- such as respect for human rights -- decreased.
Image: A government soldier evacuates a young Tamil boy from the war zone near the town of Mullaittivu
Photographs: Sri Lankan Government/Handout/Reuters
Most dangerous countries: North Korea
North Korea ranks 131st on the list.
The country's low ranking has been attributed to its cold relations with South Korea and provocative actions like missile and nuclear tests.
Image: A North Korean soldier guards the banks of the Yalu River near the Chongsong county of North Korea opposite the Chinese border town of Hekou
Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters