New Delhi: The strength of the Indian passport across the world continues to underwhelm, with the latest Henley Passport Index released on 7 January placing India at the joint 84th rank, as it enjoys visa-free access to only 58 nations.
Each rank can be held by multiple countries, and 147 nations actually fare better than India, which shares the 84th rank with Mauritania and Tajikistan.
The index, prepared by global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ranks passports according to “the number of destinations a holder can access without a prior visa”.
While India’s current 84th rank is two spots higher than the last assessment in August 2019, it is well below the 2014 mark of 76th. The ranking dropped to 85th in 2016, and subsequently moved up to 81st in 2018, before becoming worse in August 2019 with a rank of 86th.
Among the BRICS nations, Brazil ranks 19th, Russia 51st, South Africa 56th and China 71st.
Japan tops the list
Japan continues to have the most powerful passport in the world, with the Henley Index ranking it number one for the third time consecutively. According to the index, Japan enjoys a ‘score’ of 191, which means its passport-holders enjoy visa-free access to 191 countries.
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Singapore is second with a score of 190, while Germany and South Korea are tied for third with a score of 189.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, ranks at the bottom of the pile at 107th, with a visa-free access score of 26. Iraq is at 106th and Syria 105th. Pakistan and Somalia are at rank 104, with a score of 32 each.
According to Henley & Partners, there is a “direct link between visa openness and progressive reform”, and that “countries moving towards nationalist isolationism and away from policies that encourage visa openness are likely to drop” in the ranking.
Jibes at Modi
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi led social media users in taking jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It is pertinent to mention that India was ranked 74 in 2013 before Modiji started touring countries to strengthen India’s image abroad,” Singhvi wrote in a tweet.
Indian passport falls from touching a decade high of rank 74 to a low of 84 in 2020 in terms of the Henley Passport Index. It is pertinent to mention that India was ranked 74 in 2013 before Modiji started touring countries to strengthen India's image abroad.
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) January 13, 2020
Several other users pointed out the same thing — that the Indian passport was stronger before the Modi government came to power.
Modi made 92 foreign trips in 60 months at a whopping cost of 2200 Cr to strengthen India's image abroad & has immensely contributed in bringing the India Passport, which was at a decade high rank of 74 in 2013 to a new low of 84 in 2020.#ModiMadeDisaster https://t.co/FTOhDCoOF6
— 𝖀𝖓𝖎𝖈💞𝖗𝖓 (@snapnchat) January 13, 2020
India’s passport falls down from a decade high 74th position in 2013 to 84th in 2020 by henley passport index. This is the outcome of Modiji’s long vacays abroad to strengthen India. Howdy India ? #PassportSinks #JumlaSarkar
— Sayed Noor (@noorsayed1312) January 13, 2020
@MEAIndia How should we read the latest #HenleyPassportIndex for #India? I feel we can do better than this and we deserve better acceptance.
Why are we giving visa waive off to countries that dont give Indians a waive off? Strongly recommend "only reciprocation" policy.
— Smita Pandey Mishra (@smitapmishra) January 13, 2020
Its positional rank is 84, but at every position, there are multiple countries. So, the actual rank is 147. You can count it.
— Dr. Ashok Dhamija (@ashokdhamija) January 8, 2020
According to the Henley Passport Index 2020 India's passport ranking dropped two places in 2020 to the 84th place, sharing the spot with Mauritania and Tajikistan which was 74 in 2013 during Dr. Manmohan Singhhttps://t.co/PdQncI640E pic.twitter.com/WP0KlB2lOy
— Neha (@NehaKoppula) January 13, 2020
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