India's Passport Ranking and Global Mobility

The Henley Passport Index, which ranks passports of countries based on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa, has recently released its 2023 edition. India’s passport has moved up two places from its position in 2022, but the access to countries has decreased by one.

Passport Ranking

  • Based on data available from the International Air Transport Association, the index ranks passports of countries, “according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.” With access to 193 countries, Japan tops the list as the world’s most powerful passport, while Afghanistan is ranked last in the list, its passport giving access to only 27 countries.
  • India has moved up from its spot at the 87th place on the list, however, it’s access to countries has decreased by one. In 2022 the Indian passport-holders enjoyed visa-free/visa-on-arrival travel to 60 countries, in 2023 this has come down to 59 countries. When the first edition of the Henley Passport Index was published in 2006 India was ranked 71, with visa-free access to only 25 countries.

Global GDP Access

  • Henley & Partners, who prepare the index, have also assessed the passports based on how much of the global GDP can be accessed by the passport-holder. “By combining Henley Passport Index data and World Bank GDP data, the new research ranks all 199 passports in the world in terms of their Henley Passport Power (HPP) score,” the statement said. Consequently, the strongest passport (Japan) allows visa-free travel to 193 countries (85% of the world), i.e. a gateway to 98% of the global economy. On the other hand, an Afghanistan passport allows the passport-holder to have visa-free access to only 1% of the world’s economy.
  • This ‘global mobility gap’ as the index calls it highlights how countries are “shut out of a shockingly wide breadth of opportunities for economic mobility and growth.” Regarding Indian passport-holders the index said that, “Despite having the world’s fifth-largest economy: its passport holders can access just 59 destinations worldwide and only 6.7% of global GDP, of which the country’s own GDP accounts for around half.”

Impact of Russia-Ukraine crisis

  • The report also analyzed the impact that Russia’s attack on Ukraine has had on travel. Russia is currently ranked 49th with a score of 118, while Ukraine sits 13 places above, ranking 36th with a score of 144. However, airspace closures and sanctions have interrupted travel for Russian citizens, with the marked exceptions of Dubai and Istanbul.
  • For Ukraine, the report forecasts a swift climb for the country to the Top 10 as Ukrainians have been granted the right to live and work in the European Union for up to three years under an emergency plan.

Synopsis

The Henley Passport Index 2023 highlights the varying levels of global mobility and access to economic opportunities for citizens of different countries. It also illustrates the impact of political and economic factors on travel and mobility. India’s passport may have moved up on the ranking, but the access to countries has decreased, and it still has a long way to go to be at par with other countries.

Written by IAS POINT

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