In an increasingly connected world, the nation-state is less sovereign today that it was ever before. Some of the most consequential issues today – climate change, terrorism, international trade, or global violations of human rights – cannot be dealt by any country in isolation. Under this theme, we work on how India can engage deeply with the rest of the world to protect its interests and to promote global peace and security. We focus especially on these three sub-themes:
- China, particularly on trade and investment
- International organisations – the UN & its organs, the WTO and the UNFCC & GCF
- Indian diaspora and soft-power
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.