Sri Lanka has moved up 18 notches and ranked at 97th place out of 163 countries in the 2016 Global Peace Index compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace.
Iceland ranked 1st in the index as the most peaceful country followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal.
Syria made it to the bottom of the list followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Sri Lanka’s neighbouring countries India ranked at 141, Pakistan at 153, Afghanistan at 160, Bangladesh at 83, Nepal at 78 and Bhutan at 13.
The index report which was published on Wednesday said Sri Lanka had sought strong gains in both internal and external peace enabling it to jump up 18 positions in the rankings, the second-largest rank improvement overall.
“Improvements in political instability, likelihood of violent demonstrations and number and duration of internal conflicts all contributed to the enhancement in Sri Lanka’s domestic situation. Driving these trends was a strengthening of the country’s democratic institutions during the administration of President Maithripala Sirisena, who continues to make strides in combating corruption and reverse the authoritarianism of the previous administration,” it said.
It said President Sirisena’s government has continued to pursue a strategy of ethnic reconciliation following the end of the civil war in 2009 and that Sri Lanka has also improved its ties with India, which is reflected in an improvement in its score for relationships with neighbouring countries.
“Military expenditure has also been cut as threats to internal stability gradually dissipate, but the country’s impact of terrorism score deteriorated slightly, the report said.
Sri Lanka saw the greatest upswing in its score in the region. The country successfully conducted two sets of elections in 2015—presidential in January and parliamentary in August which brought a reformist administration with a strong mandate.