The ‘strength’ of the Indian passport has weakened in the last decade, according to the Henley Passport Index for 2021. The index ranks normal passports (non-diplomatic, not issued for emergency or temporary use) of countries according to the number of destinations its holders can visit without a visa or can avail themselves of a visa, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority on arrival. The more such destinations for a country’s passport, the ‘stronger’ the passport.
India is ranked 90 out of 199 countries. In 2011, its rank was 78. Between 2011 and 2021, only five destinations were added to India’s visa-free access list.
Where India stands
Indian passport holders are allowed visa-free travel to 58 countries as of 2021. Japan and Singapore are the two top-ranked nations — their passport holders are allowed visa-free travel to 192 countries.
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Passport holders of Japan, Singapore, Germany and South Korea can visit at least 190 destinations without a visa, according to the 2021 rankings.
Afghanistan passports are at the bottom of the table — it has visa-free access to only 26 countries.
Ranking over time
India’s latest rank is its lowest since 2011. Between 2011 and 2021, India’s best ranking was in 2013 when in stood 74th among 199 countries. The chart depicts India’s ranking over the past 10 years.
Change in rank
The chart plots a country’s rank in 2021 against the change in its rank from 2011. India’s rank fell 12 positions in this period. Among other BRICS nations, China is ranked 72 in 2021, advancing 18 positions between 2011 and 2021. Brazil also rose five places and stands 20th now. On the other hand, South Africa and Russia dropped by 11 and three positions, respectively, in this period. The U.A.E. jumped 49 spots in the 2021 ranking compared to 2011.
Change in access
The chart plots the total number of visa-free destinations for a country in 2021 against the change in such destinations for the country from 2011. Between 2011 and 2021, only five countries were added to India’s visa-free access list, the lowest among BRICS nations. China added 39 such countries while Brazil and Russia added 30 and 29 such countries, respectively. South Africa added 11 countries.