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Name: Rudra Pratap Singh Panjeta

Roll No: 110

Section: 6
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India's soft and hard power strategy in

Foreign Policy
Hard power yields obedience, while soft power yields acquiescence. The former is the
foundation of state strength, but the latter helps consolidate that strength. History suggests
that synergistic use of both forms of power allows a state to gain global influence.
India is now perceived as a superpower,
it was not just through trade and politics but also through its ability to share its culture
with the world through food, music, technology and Bollywood. However, it is difficult to
determine Indias actual soft power resources, or which of these resources have actually
helped strengthen Indias global status.

Indias Soft Power

India has always been a country with tremendous soft poweras can be seen from the
fact that unlike the rise of China, its rise is not being viewed with trepidation and alarm in
many countries. Indias soft power is very high in the countries of South East Asia due to
their shared heritage and civilization and they are now called its civilizational neighbours.
Unlike the other emerging Asian powers like China and Japan, India has a unique advantage
in these countries as India does not have border disputes with any of them. Indian culture is
appreciated in its immediate neighbourhood in South Asia. India has influenced countries
both in its immediate neighbourhood and extended neighbourhood like Persia (now known
as Iran) for centuries. India continues to have tremendous potential for soft power because
of its culture and civilizational linksits large diaspora, popular films, music, art and
historical and cultural links with several countries around the world all contribute to its soft

India has had a long history of civilizational and cultural links with countries as far-flung as
Iran, Rome and South East Asia. Its riches and splendour have attracted traders and
travellers for thousands of years. Countries in Southeast Asia still have remnants of Indian
traditions: the Angor Vat temple in Cambodia, temples and pagodas in Thailand, Myanmar
as well as the presence of several Sanskrit words in languages like Bahasha Indonesia prove
the influence of Indian culture on these countries. India, as the land where the Buddha
preached, has positive connotations for Buddhists all over the world. Buddhism spread from
India to China and other countries through Buddhist monks and scholars came to India to
study at its universities leading to a healthy exchange of ideas right from ancient times the
influence of which is apparent throughout Asia even today.20 Indias continued soft power
in the AsiaPacific can be seen in the proposal by India to revive the once world famous
Nalanda University in partnership with China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. This
initiative is an example of the convergence of the soft power agendas of five different
countries. Islamic preachers from India are believed to have spread the religious and
cultural values of Islam in Singapore and Malaysia. Also, as one of the few places in the
world where Jews were welcomed and not persecuted, India enjoys much soft power in

Indias diaspora is a huge soft power asset. There are millions of Indian diaspora spread
across countries as far as Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Surinam, South Africa, Sri Lanka
and Trinidad. While Indians were taken over as indentured labours to far-flung parts of the
British Empire in the nineteenth-century, a professional elite from this expatriate
community has found its way to the United States (US), Canada, Australia, and other nations
of the West in the twentieth century. They have contributed immensely to the countries
they have settled in and command influence and respect in these countries. In fact, the
Indo-American community in the US has been found to be the most educated immigrant
community in the US. The recent upturn in Indo-US relations has a lot to do with the
lobbying, influence and reputation of the Indo-American community. Countries like Fiji and
Mauritius have large Indian communities with people of Indian Origin holding important
political positions.

Food & Films

Indian cuisine with its subtle use of spices and herbs grown across the Indian subcontinent is
also becoming popular in the West, particularly in the United Kingdom (UK) which is home
to a large Indian diaspora. In fact, Shashi Tharoor claims that in the UK today, Indian curry
houses employ more people than the iron and steel, coal and shipbuilding industries
combined. Indian food has also gained popularity in other Western countries and there are
many Indian restaurants in the larger cities of the US and Canada.
Elements of popular Indian culture like music and movies have a wide following in many
countries. The power of music can bridge borders and bring people closer. Indian music and
movies have a large international market and have become increasingly popular abroad,
particularly in Asia, Europe, Africa and West Asia. Even in countries like Russia, Syria and
Senegal, Indian films, particularly Hindi (Bollywood, which is the most important movie
industry after Hollywood) movies, have a following. Indian movies are popular and watched
not only in South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka
due to their close proximity with India and due to certain similar cultural outlooks present in
the movies but also in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. South Asia is already dominated
by Indian music and movies to the extent that at times it has even bred some resentment
against India. In fact, Pakistan had earlier banned Indian television channels and films
though recently there have been some collaborations between Bollywood and the Pakistani
film industry. Wax statues of several actors from the Indian film industry at Madame
Tussauds in London bear testimony to the influence of Indian cinema and Indias soft
power. The overwhelming Oscar success of Slumdog Millionaire, where three Indian
artists/technicians won individual Oscars, shows the potential for Indian films and artists to
contribute to Indias soft power. When Indian writers win international awards like the ManBooker prize, when India becomes the guest of honour at international book fairs like the
Frankfurt Book Fair, when Indian movies are screened at International Film Festivals like
Cannes and when Indians win awards like the Nobel and Magsasay awards, Indias soft
power is built.

The success of Indian companies like Infosys Technologies and Wipro Technologies in the
Information Technology (IT) sector; success of other multinational companies like the Tata
Group and Reliance Group; and the worldwide recognition of the academic excellence of the

Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institute of Technology (IITs)the centres
of excellence for higher training, research and development in science, engineering and
technology in Indiahave contributed to the new image of India as a country with English
educated, enterprising people. In the US, for example, the stereotypical Indian is no longer a
starving peasant, but a highly professional IT specialist who tells helpless Americans how to
work with their computers. Indians constitute the epicentre of the Silicon Valley revolution
and India have moved from being a job-seeking economy to one that is being driven by
demand in developed nations for services and migrant workers from developing countries.

Culture is the most important source of soft power. India is at a very advantageous position
as far as culture is concerned and has historically enjoyed much soft power. According to
T.V. Paul and Baldev Nayar, Indian culture offers one of the most dynamic alternatives to
Western cultural values.One of Indias most successful and enduring importsyogais
practised all over the world both as a form of exercise and as a stress-buster by millions of
people. Yoga is already a global phenomenon and is rapidly becoming part of mainstream
culture, particularly in the West.
Indias tolerance for different religions and cultures is legendary. This is the land which has
preached Vasudhaiva Kudumbakam (the world is my family) and Loka Samastha Sukhino
Bhavanthu (let there be peace in the whole world) after all. Indias message of secularism
which actually means different religions co-existing in harmony with each other, rather than
the Western concept of separation of religion and the State is a valuable lesson in these
days when there is so much strife in the name of religion. Indias diplomats have also played
a role, though how big it is cannot really be measured that being the nature of soft power
itself, in increasing Indias soft power. Indias diplomats have played important roles in
international for a in the 1960s and 1970s and continue to play significant roles in
international negotiations like climate change. Indias diplomats are trained in Indias
culture and values, communication skills as well as the work in the media and Indian
Parliament. This helps them connect with governments as well as people of other countries.
With increasing globalisation in culture as well as the media, Indias influence through its
culture is likely to increase in the future.

Indias Hard Power

Open Hard power tactics were used by India in pre-liberalization era, in case of Sri Lanka,
Bangladesh but with Gujral Doctrine, Indian Foreign Policy turned a corner which has
demonstrated India as a more restrained and peaceful nuclear power. So when it comes to
Hard power tactics, Indias Foreign Policy follows the maxim of Iron fist in a Velvet glove.
Engaging with erring nations, India has used Hard power methods but has always followed
restraint by stopping short of Military mobilisation. The only time when India did so in
recent history was after 2001 Parliament attack. Since then, India has influenced other
nations policies and decisions through its economic strength and weight in International
By abstaining from voting against SriLanka in UN, India countered the Sri Lankan tilt
towards China and now Indias suasion for implementation of 13th Amendment Act
of Sri Lankan constitution, is showing some signs of Sri Lanka relenting under

By stemming the gas subsidies to Bhutan, India acted as a detour in Bhutan-China

talks where China had offered to give up the control of Bhutanese territories in lieu
of Chumbi valley. After Bhutan turned down the Chinese offer, India resumed
normal trade flow and recent visit of Indian PM, ties have been bolstered.
In case of Pakistan, Indias approach is to develop an economic stranglehold over the
Pakistani decision-making elite, many of whom persist in maintaining an ambiguous
view towards jihadi groups. The sheer size of the Indian economy would not only
allow Indian goods to dominate the Pakistani market, but it would also raise the
opportunity cost of not cooperating against terrorism.