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147 countries ahead of India in global passport strength rankings, steep fall from 2014

The Henley Passport Index ranks many countries at a single spot, so though India's rank is joint 84th, 147 countries are actually ahead of it.

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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.

Also read: Strength, value of Indian passport has increased, says PM on Howdy Modi success

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.

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.

Several other users pointed out the same thing — that the Indian passport was stronger before the Modi government came to power.

Also read: Lotus symbol on new passports part of enhanced security measures, says MEA


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  1. Voa countries has gone up from 52 to 58 from 2014 to 2020. Its a matter or security and immigration and not an index of foreign relations or economic strength

  2. The number of countries with visa free access for Indians actually increased from 50 to 58.

    The rankings are inherently flawed as there are multiple countries at every rank.

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