The "strength" of the Indian passport — countries it has visa-free access to — has weakened in the last decade, according to the annual Henley Passport Index .
“Visa-free access” in this case means passport holders can also obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority when entering the destination.
India ranked 86 of 187 countries in 2019, while in 2010 it was ranked 77. Just eight nations were added to its visa-free access list from 2010 to 2019 — lowest among BRICS nations.
China was ranked 74th in 2019, advancing 14 places between 2010 and 2019. Brazil was ranked 18th in 2019, advancing 10 places in this period.
Among the BRICS countries which deteriorated were Russia, which was ranked 51st in 2019 (slipping two places), South Africa (seven places) and as mentioned before, India.
The below visualisation plots the change in ranking of the country between 2010 and 2019 against the country’s rank in 2019.
Globally, United Arab Emirates bettered its rank by 45 places, the highest. Nigeria and Syria were at the bottom of the table, dropping 20 or more ranks.
Another measure in the Passport Index is the number of visa-free destinations. Here, Singapore and Japan outperform other countries — these two nations have visa-free access to 189 destinations.
Indian passport holders have visa-free access to 58 destinations.
Iraq and Afghanistan passports were at the bottom of the table (They have visa-free access to 27 and 25 countries respectively).
Giving possible reasons for the declines, the 2019 Henley Passport Index says, “Countries moving towards nationalist isolationism and away from policies that encourage visa openness are likely to drop in the rankings and incur geopolitical consequences for themselves and their neighbours”.
The below visualisation plots the change in the number of visa-free destinations for each country between 2010 and 2019 against the country’s total visa-free destinations in 2019.