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India must do more to fully leverage its soft power potential

24 Aug 2017
Description

India is richly endowed with a wide range of soft power resources that can help it to engage countries as far apart as Iran and Israel. Much of India’s soft power, and the ability to deploy it, is autonomous of the government, which limits the extent to which soft power can be actively harnessed. Moreover, India lacks an appropriate institutional “ecosystem” to harness soft power and further its interests in the international sphere. The present government’s capacity to deploy soft power is further constrained by the ruling party’s indiscriminate pursuit of political consolidation that is affecting domestic social harmony and, by implication, the foundations of the country’s soft power. India’s soft power resources can be nurtured and better used to advance its foreign policy interests, if the government unobtrusively provides infrastructural support for soft projects and refrains from interfering in the cultural and social lives of its citizens.

Key points

  • India is richly endowed with a wide range of soft power resources, but it lacks an appropriate institutional “ecosystem” to harness its soft power and further its interests in the international sphere.
  • Multicultural India’s soft power resources are mostly autonomous of the government and critically depend on the health of its inclusive democracy.
  • The present ruling party’s indiscriminate pursuit of political consolidation is affecting social harmony within the country and, by implication, the foundations of India’s soft power.
  • The government can leverage soft power resources to support its foreign policy interests, if it unobtrusively provides infrastructural support for soft projects and refrains from interfering in the cultural and social lives of people.
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2017
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