Henley Passport Index: Did the Indian Passport really become weaker?

Indian From South
4 min readFeb 23, 2024

A few days ago, the latest Henley Passport Index ranking list was released, with India ranked 85th. Similar to the reaction to the Hunger Index release, this provided another opportunity for left-liberals to ‘celebrate’ and, at the same time, mock the central government. What is the reality of this? Why are we ranked so low in the passport index? Is our passport really weak? Did our ranking slip this year, and was it better during the UPA era?

How is the Henley Passport Index created?

To answer the above questions, we first need to understand the basis on which this list is prepared. The index is created by an organization called Henley and Partners. On their website, they have provided the criteria upon which this index is based. So, what are the criteria? The main criteria upon which this index is created are shown in this image. To understand this in simple terms, if the passport holder of a country is provided visa-free entry into 50 other countries, the score for that passport will be 50. This score is then compared with those of other nations, based on which the final ranking is determined.

Did the Indian Passport slip in its ranking?

India is ranked 85th in the 2024 index. The total score given to the Indian passport as per the latest index is 62. Our ranking in 2013 was 74. Now, the interesting part here is that the score of the Indian passport in 2013 was 52.

What this means is that Indian passport holders can now travel to 62 countries without a visa or with a visa on arrival, compared to 52 countries in 2013. We know that in the last few months, countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand have announced visa-free entry for Indian passport holders. So, in reality, compared to 2013, the Indian passport has certainly improved in strength.

What was our ranking in the 2023 index?

Our ranking, as per the 2023 index, was 84, whereas in 2022, it was 83. However, the number of countries providing visa-free entry to Indian nationals remained unchanged during that one year. A question regarding this matter was raised with the MOS MEA in August 2023. Please find the question and the answer attached. (It appears that the question quotes the wrong numbers.)

Why isn’t our passport stronger?

Those who travel internationally, especially to the Western world, are familiar with the kind of documentation requested before a visa is issued. An Indian passport holder traveling to certain countries is required to submit bank statements, etc., as proof of their financial stability. This is done by the host country to ensure that the traveler has sufficient funds and to prevent them from disappearing once they enter the country.

Why are there so many checks for Indian passport holders?

A look at our per capita GDP will provide us with an answer. India’s per capita GDP is still one of the lowest in the world. While countries like Japan have a per capita GDP of over $34,000, India’s per capita GDP is $2,600. There are several reasons for this, one of the main ones being the high population of our nation.

Let us remember that in 2013, our GDP was USD 1.8 trillion. This means that it took 70 years, from 1947 to 2013, for successive Congress governments to take our GDP to USD 1.8 trillion. In 2024, our GDP is close to USD 4 trillion.

In a matter of 10 years, the present central government has literally managed to double our GDP. Millions of people have come out of poverty as a result of the efforts of the present central government. Our GDP is set to reach a figure of $5–6 trillion in 2027 and cross $7 trillion by 2030, according to estimates. (See the historical figures in this graph)

What is the future for Indian Passport holders?

With the high GDP growth levels mentioned above, the per capita GDP will also improve. Once this happens, other countries will be more confident that an Indian passport holder will not want to leave their country and settle in the host country illegally. Once this occurs, more and more countries will start granting visa-free entry to Indian passport holders, and our ranking will consequently improve.

This is a journey that began in 2014, and we as a nation are cruising ahead smoothly. Let’s not allow the opposition parties and their supporters to fool us into believing false narratives like this one.

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Indian From South

Singer🎙️| Seeker 🕉 | Yoga Practitioner🧘🏽‍♂️