Recently, the Henley Passport Index came out with its list revealing the most powerful (and the least powerful) passports in the world. A strong passport is essentially one that gives you visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to most countries. The importance and value of this list are evident to the different governments across the world that use this list to assess the value of citizenship in certain countries.
The results this quarter speak volumes in terms of defining the difference in results pre-COVID and post-COVID. As it was noted, the rankings in 2017-2018 were dominated by European countries because of the strong diplomatic relations they had all over the world. However, this dynamic changed drastically after 2020. For example, Japan is currently the strongest passport holder with access to 193 countries. Close seconds are Singapore and South Korea, which have access to 192. Countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan rank at the bottom of the list, with access to 27 countries.
Other notable countries are the United Kingdom, ranking 6th, with access to 187 countries; the United States of America, ranking 7th with access to 186; and China, ranking 69th, with access to 80 countries.
The Indian passport has ranked 87th in the list, giving it access to 60 countries worldwide. In Asia, the passport grants visa-on-arrival to countries like Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka (and many more). The continent of Africa offers access to 21 countries and only 2 countries provide visa-on-arrival in Europe, with the Indian passport.
The Henley Passport Index (HPI) gathers this intel by retrieving and analysing data from the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and hence presents a global passport rankings chart every quarter. Although India had been falling down the list in the past quarters, this time, it has redeemed itself quite well. Considering the fact that there are a total of 199 passports and India has secured the 87th position on the list, it can be said that India’s diplomatic relations are pretty strong with foreign countries.
The reason this list is so important and holds immense value all across the world is that now that countries have started to open up yet again post the pandemic, it is very crucial for countries to build relations again. International travel and safety is something that almost everyone is eager to experience. Hence, the fact that India has been climbing up this list, slowly yet steadily, is evidence that the government has been working hard and focusing a lot on building these relations abroad.