The WEF report says China's determination to press territorial and maritime claims and its extension of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have triggered responses among neighbouring powers, with Japan and India exploring more structured forms of strategic cooperation in both economic and military affairs.
The report, which found environmental risks to be dominating the Global Risk Perception Survey for the second year running, said a deteriorating geopolitical landscape is partly to blame for the pessimistic outlook in 2018. As per the survey, 93 per cent of respondents said they expect political or economic confrontations between major powers to worsen, while nearly 80 per cent expect an increase in risks associated with war involving major powers.
The report further said that amid geopolitical flux, national identity becomes a growing source of tension around contested borders, while clashes related to identity and community continue to drive political dislocations in many countries and are increasingly fuelling cross-border tensions. Listing examples, it referred to Bhutan last year finding itself "at the centre of a stand-off between India and China".
The top ten risks in terms of likelihood include extreme weather events, natural disasters, cyber attacks, data fraud or theft, climate change, involuntary migration, man-made environmental disasters, terrorist attacks, illicit trade and asset bubbles in major economies. The biggest risks in terms of impact would be weapons of mass destruction, extreme weather events, natural disasters, climate change, water crises, cyber attacks, food crises, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, involuntary migration and spread of infectious diseases