This paper not only draws on the extensive literature that exists on soft power but also rich conversations with a wide range of experts and practitioners in the world of foreign policy, international relations and global policy-making. It begins with an overview of the concepts of soft and smart power, working under the assumption that the two exist and can be beneficial if utilised effectively.
It then focus primarily on India – its variety of soft power resources and its potential. It recognises that soft power is a broad concept with multiple interpretations; it also recognises that India has great number of soft power resources to fit under one umbrella. For this purpose, the paper breaks the concept of soft power in the Indian context into two parts: state driven and non-state driven soft power. The paper then proceeds to analyse these resources and interrogate whether India can use its soft power effectively in its quest to become a “great” power in today’s world.