India's Chhetri passes Messi in international goals
Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo tops the international list among active players, with 103 goals.
With 73 strikes, Ali Mabkhout of the United Arab Emirates is also above Messi -- a six-time Ballon d'Or winner widely regarded as the greatest player of the modern era.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel lauded the captain for leading from the front.
"Our @IndianFootball skipper Sunil Chhetri adds another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals," Patel wrote on Twitter.
"A big congratulations to Captain Fantastic & wishing him many more accolades in the future."
India will next face Afghanistan in the qualifiers, on June 15.