Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to London, addressed the Indian diaspora. In the event named “Bharat Ki Baat, Sab Ke Saath”, he spoke about several issues like the government’s performance, the building of toilets, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and surgical strikes.
He also said that the Indian passport has now become very powerful.
In an earlier interview with news channel Times Now PM Modi had made the same claim – there are chances that Indian passport has never been this powerful in the past.
Indian passport as per the Henley and Partners Passport Index Ranking, stands at the 81st position and it grants visa-free access to 56 countries, as of February 2018.
Indian passport occupies this position with the passports of three other countries – Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Senegal and Togo.
Japan and Singapore occupied the first position, with their passports giving visa-free access to 180 countries.
Are the claims made by PM Modi true?
Looking at the statistics for last five years, these claims seem to be hollow.
In 2015, the ranking of Indian passport suffered a major blow as it occupied the 84th position, 8 positions down from the previous year.
As per these statistics, Indian passport’s strength has definitely improved as compared to last year, however, saying that it has never been as powerful as it is now, seems to be an exaggeration.
Why is the ranking of passports important?
The rank of a passport determines how powerful it is. This is a direct indicator of travel freedom available to a citizen of a particular country.
Along with the ranking, it also determines the number of countries the citizens can travel visa-free.