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India Sees Spike in Non-State Violence, Global Conflicts at Peak

In 2023, India saw a significant increase in non-state violence, with 110 deaths compared to 6 in the previous year. Global conflict deaths halved to 154,000, yet 2023 remained one of the deadliest years since 1989

By Ground report
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India Sees Spike in Non-State Violence, Global Conflicts at Peak

Indian Army soldier goes towards the encounter site in Kashmir with a Carl Gustav. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Diomedes123

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A report by Uppsala University, Sweden, revealed a dramatic increase in non-state violence in India in 2023. 110 deaths were reported, up from 6 the previous year. The most violent conflict was between ethnic Kuki and Meitei people in Manipur, resulting in 102 fatalities.

The June 3, 2024 report highlighted 60,465 deaths due to violence in India from 1989 to 2023. 42,177 were caused by state-based violence, 5,324 by non-state violence, and 12,694 by one-sided violence.

Violence in India in 2023 was similar to in 2022, with only 10 more fatalities. State-based violence decreased, but one-sided violence remained the same.

In 2023, there were 59 state-involved conflicts, the highest since the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) started tracking in 1946. Previous peaks were in 2020 and 2022, with 56 conflicts each.

Despite numerous conflicts, conflict-related deaths in 2023 halved from the previous year, mainly due to the end of the deadly conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region in late 2022.

Shawn Davies, a senior analyst at UCDP, noted, "We still see unusually deadly wars, like Ukraine's with almost 71,000 deaths last year, and Israel's against Hamas with over 22,000 deaths in 2023."

The global death toll from organized violence halved last year, from 310,000 to 154,000. However, 2023 was still one of the bloodiest years since UCDP began collecting conflict death data in 1989, with only three deadlier years, including the 1994 Rwandan genocide, 2021, and 2022.

Last year, there were nine wars with more than 1,000 deaths, one more than the previous year and the highest since 2017. Most were in Africa, with the Sudan civil war, which began in 2023, being the third deadliest after the wars in Ukraine and Israel/Palestine.

Civilians are targeted in many conflicts. The UCDP recorded a decrease in one-sided violence against civilians last year, but thousands still fell victim in conflicts in Sudan, Burkina Faso, Israel, and Myanmar. Just over 10,000 civilian deaths were recorded in this targeted violence, compared to 12,000 the year before.

Therese Pettersson, Senior Analyst and Project Manager at UCDP, says, "IS, also known as Daesh, killed the most civilians in one-sided violence for the ninth year in a row, but the total number decreased sharply from the previous year. The group was active in 16 countries, carrying out shootings, beheadings, and coordinated suicide bombings," says Therese Pettersson, Senior Analyst and Project Manager at UCDP.

In 2023, the UCDP noted a slight decline in conflict deaths. A total of 20,900 deaths were recorded in 75 non-state conflicts. Most non-state conflicts occur in Latin America, with the bloodiest in Mexico and Brazil, where violence is concentrated in cities and along major drug trafficking routes.

"This type of violence has become more present in Europe, and in 2023, the first active gang conflict was recorded in the French city of Marseille. Many patterns characterising gang violence in the UCDP statistics can also be observed in Sweden, such as waves of violence triggered by splits and alliances, and increasingly younger perpetrators," notes Garoun Engström, Senior Analyst at UCDP.

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