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India ranks 42nd in 2017 Global Democracy Index

India world’s largest democracy was ranked 42nd among 165 independent states on annual 2017 Global Democracy Index (GDI) released by UK-based company, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). India’s rank has slipped from 32nd in 2016 GDI and its overall score dropped 0.58 points from 7.81 to 7.23. Moreover, India was classified India as a flawed democracy in 2017 GDI

Global Democracy Index (GDI)

The index ranks 165 independent states and 2 territories on basis of 60 indicators grouped in five different categories viz. electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. It categories countries into four broad categories viz. full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime based on their score on a scale from 0 to 10. It is released by EIU, a research and analysis division of UK- based media behemoth The Economist Group.

Key Highlights of 2017 GDI

Top 10 countries in 2017 GDI: Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Finland and Switzerland. Top three positions on the list were occupied by Nordic countries.

Top-ranked Norway was given overall score of 9.87 with perfect-ten scores for electoral process and pluralism; political participation; and political culture. Only top 19 countries have been classified as ‘full democracies’

Global Scenario: US (ranked 21), Japan, Italy, France, Israel, Singapore, and Hong Kong were named among ‘flawed democracies’.  The hybrid regimes classified by it includes India’s neighbours Pakistan (110th), Bangladesh (92nd), Nepal (94th) and Bhutan (99th). Those named as ‘authoritarian regimes’ include China (139th), Myanmar (120th), Russia (135th) and Vietnam (140th). North Korea was ranked lowest at 167th and Syria second last at 166th place.

India related Highlights: India’s overall score has fallen to 7.23 points, even as it scored well on electoral process and pluralism (9.17). It scored low on other four parameters—political culture, functioning of government, political participation and civil liberties. India was ranked 49th with regard to media freedom (measured this year by EIU), with its media being classified as ‘partly free’.

The rise of conservative religious ideologies in India is another factor that has affected the country’s ranking. The strengthening of right-wing Hindu forces has led to rise of vigilantism and violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims, as well as other dissenting voices.

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US approves major Non-NATO Ally status to Tunisia

United States has approved major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status to Tunisia.

Decision in this regard was taken by US State Department. With this Tunisia became the 16th country to become a MNNA of US.

Background

In May 2015, US President Barack Obama had declared Tunisia as its non-NATO ally while hosting his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi at the White House. This decision was taken by US to support for Tunisia’s decision to join the world’s democracies.

US is hoping to strengthen democracy in Tunisia especially after Beji Caid Essebsi became the first democratically elected President in 60-year history of Tunisia.

Comment

By granting the MNNA status, both countries will enhance military cooperation between them. The strong relations between both democracies will help to maintain peace and security in Tunisia as it was the birthplace of Arab Spring (Jasmine revolution) revolts across the Middle East in 2011. It will also help Tunisia to counter the rising threat of jihadist groups especially ISIS in the region.

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