In this year's Global Peace Index (GPI), Singapore is the 16th most peaceful out of 162 countries, seven places up from last year’s ranking.

Singapore, Japan and Bhutan are the three Asian countries among the top 20 in the world.

Singapore's GPI score tied with that of Australia, which was 22nd last year when Singapore was 23rd. Among ASEAN member countries, Singapore tops the list.

Member of Parliament Baey Yam Keng was quoted by local press as saying that the GPI reinforced Singapore's international reputation as a safe country. He expected the ranking to remain that way in the next few years.

According to Associate Professor Reuben Wong from the National University of Singapore, the ranking is a reflection of Singapore as a wealthy and relatively well-developed and stable society with good infrastructure and no major political, ethnic or economic tensions.

He said Singapore should be careful, not letting Gini coefficient, which is generally used as a measure of income inequality, remain high as it may make the GPI ranking down.

The annual GPI, now in its seventh year, was released this week by the Institute for Economics and Peace. It is used by many international organisations, governments and non-governmental organisations to inform policy.

Overall scores were derived from 22 indicators measuring levels of peacefulness within a country, as well as outside the country, which had an impact on its peacefulness. They included data such as the number of police officers per 100,000 people, organised crime levels and military expenditure as a percentage of the country's gross domestic product.-VNA