The Reasons Behind India’s Weak Passport and the Steps to Boost Its Power

The Reasons Behind India’s Weak Passport and the Steps to Boost Its Power

If you are an Indian citizen who loves to travel, you might have faced some challenges when it comes to visa requirements. India's passport is ranked 87th out of 199 passports on the Henley Passport Index, which ranks the strongest and weakest passports based on information provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). 

This means that Indian passport holders can travel to only 58 countries without a prior visa, while Japan, Singapore and South Korea, which have the most powerful passports in the world, can access 192 countries visa-free or with visa on arrival.

But why is India's passport so weak compared to other countries? There are several factors that affect the strength of a passport, such as:

Geopolitical relations: The visa policies of a country depend largely on its diplomatic ties with other countries. Countries that have friendly relations tend to grant visa-free or visa on arrival access to each other's citizens, while countries that have conflicts or disputes may impose strict visa requirements or even ban entry altogether. For example, India has tense relations with Pakistan and China, which limits its travel options in Asia.

Security risks: Another factor that influences visa policies is the security risk posed by travelers from certain countries. Countries that have high rates of terrorism, crime, illegal immigration, or human rights violations may face more scrutiny and restrictions from other countries that want to protect their borders and citizens. For example, India has been placed on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which monitors money laundering and terror financing, which affects its reputation and credibility.

Economic development: A third factor that affects passport strength is the level of economic development and prosperity of a country. Countries that have high GDP per capita, human development index, and trade volume tend to have more travel freedom, as they are seen as attractive destinations for tourism, business, and investment. Countries that have low economic indicators may face more barriers to travel, as they are perceived as less stable and reliable. For example, India ranks 131st out of 189 countries on the human development index, which measures life expectancy, education, and income.

These factors are not fixed and can change over time depending on the political, social, and economic developments in the world. Therefore, passport strength is not a permanent status but a dynamic one that reflects the global situation. India's passport rank has improved slightly from 90th in 2021 to 87th in 2022, which shows that there is some progress and potential for further improvement. However, there is still a long way to go before India can compete with the top-ranking countries in terms of passport power.

Some of the steps that India can take to boost its passport strength are:

Strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations: India should work on improving its ties with other countries, especially its neighbors and regional partners, through dialogue, cooperation, and confidence-building measures. India should also participate actively in international organizations and forums, such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth, and the BRICS, to enhance its global presence and influence.

Enhancing security and governance: India should address the issues of terrorism, crime, corruption, and human rights violations that affect its image and credibility in the world. India should also comply with the international standards and norms set by bodies like the FATF, the UN Human Rights Council, and the World Trade Organization.

Promoting economic growth and development: India should focus on increasing its GDP per capita, human development index, and trade volume through policies that foster innovation, education, health, infrastructure, and environmental sustainability. India should also diversify its export markets and attract more foreign direct investment and tourism.

By taking these steps, India can hope to improve its passport strength and enjoy more travel freedom in the future. A strong passport is not only a symbol of national pride but also a tool for global integration and opportunity.

Sources

(1) Is Indian passport weak? - governmentfaq.com. https://governmentfaq.com/is-indian-passport-weak.

(2) World's Most Powerful Passport Ranking 2022: India’s Passport Rank .... https://www.jagranjosh.com/current-affairs/passport-ranking-2022-indias-passport-rank-improves-to-83-from-90-check-latest-world-passport-rankings-1641976313-1.

(3) Henley Passport Index - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henley_Passport_Index.

(4) Global Passport Power Rank 2023 | Passport Index 2023. https://www.passportindex.org/byRank.php.

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