Balancing 'Pride' and Passport Index 'Ranking'
In an interview conducted by a private channel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said “People who live abroad and keep travelling abroad, they'll know the respect Indian passport carries today. “He also added, “There is a sense of pride when people enter any airport and place their Indian passport at the immigration counter.”
Here is the excerpt:
Reporter: Prime Minister, you have been trying to improve India's image abroad, but some of our leaders go abroad and tell the Indian Diaspora that things are not working well in India. They urge Indians abroad to return home because everything is getting worse. What will you say to those people?
PM Narendra Modi: Maybe the people who live abroad and those who keep travelling abroad will know the respect that the Indian passport carries today. I don't think earlier anybody experienced the strength of the Indian passport. Today, when Indian people enter any airport and place their passport at the immigration counter, there is a sense of pride. This is what everybody says. I believe this is the truth. But if we go out in the world and say something, it's more about revealing the identity of the person than the country's identity.
Reporter: Many people say that when they go abroad they get a chance to speak, so they speak. They say it's not that our intentions towards the country are wrong but we are presenting the reality. Are they denting the image?
PM Narendra Modi: Why should I criticize them and give importance? Let the country decide, what a person says on a foreign land is more revealing about that person's identity or about the country's identity. The world knows the country's identity. People of foreign countries who have not lived here call India a bright spot. They have not tasted our salt but they are saying good things about us.
According to Henley & Partners Passport Index, which was released on January 9, 2018, India stands at 86th position among 199 countries and regions in terms of visa-free access or visa-on-arrival facility. This ranking has been made in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association, which is based on official data from their global database. Indian passport allows its citizens to visit only 49 countries without a visa while Chinese one to over 60 countries.
On the contrary to what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said about the respect that Indian passport carries these days, India holds one of the bottom three positions among other countries in Asia. It has also been marked for its worst performance in the past two years on the index. However, it also declared that till 2016, Indian passport gave more freedom to visit other countries and territories without a visa than China but now china's passport ranks at 75 whereas India's rank is at 86.