India on Wednesday fell six places to the 144th position in the annual passport index for 2023, from 138th a year ago. The Passport Index 2023 has been published by financial advisory services firm Arton Capital that ranks passports of 199 countries.

The rankings are determined by mobility score of the countries which is calculated on provisions like visa-free visit, visa on arrival, an eVisa (if used within three days) and electronic travel authorisation.

India’s mobility score fell from 71 in 2019 to 47 in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Passport Index 2023 report. The score rose to 73 in 2022 as travel restrictions were gradually lifted, but it fell back to 70 in 2023.

The report said that the decline in India’s mobility score is linked to changes in the European Union’s policy.

China too ranked relatively lower compared to other large economies at 118th in the Passport Index individual rankings.

“The lack of visa-free agreements with influential blocs like the EU, or regional competitors such as India and Japan, therefore, continue to limit the strength of its passport,” the report said.

It added that the downward trend in mobility across Asia is not seen in countries such as South Korea and Japan. South Korea, which is 12th in the individual rankings and has a mobility score of 174, has the highest score in Asia. Japan hold the 26th spot with a mobility score of 172.

The United Arab Emirates topped the individual passport ranking with a mobility score of 181. It is followed by Sweden, Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria with a joint mobility score of 174.

Hrant Boghossian, the co-founder of the Passport Index, said that both India and China have seen their passport mobility fall but added that the effects of Beining reopening its economy have not been fully realised.

“With the removal of its pandemic travel restrictions, China may now look to improve its global mobility – securing visa agreements to gain streamlined international access for its citizens would naturally align with China’s longer-term strategy to increase its global influence,” he said. “However, this will be weighed against increasing friction with the USA and Western Europe, likely restricting deals to countries closer to China’s sphere of influence.”

In January, India was ranked 85th, along with Mauritania and Uzbekistan, among 199 countries in a list of the world’s most powerful passports.

The report was published by citizenship and residence consultancy firm Henley and Partners. The Henley Passport Index measures the strength of all the passports around the world, based on how many destinations can be accessed by the passport-holders of a specific country, without pre-departure visa application.

According to the report, Indians can only travel to 59 countries without needing a visa.