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India’s Soft Power: Challenges & Opportunities

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.


Research Reports

Study Report- Development and Trade of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs)

Policy Watch

Policy Watch: India’s Place in the World-August 2020

Case Studies

Case Study: Jal, Jangal, Jameen- Process Documentation of Rejuvenation of the Ur River, Tikamgarh, M.P.


Consultations – Understanding Urbanisation Oct 2018


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Constitutional Values and Democratic Institutions

This theme focuses on gender, caste and marginalized sections of society within the larger ambit of social justice and equity. This theme explores through research and policy analysis, various contemporary dynamics related to issues of justice, equity, equality and communal harmony.

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Growth with

The reforms of 1985 and 1991 placed India on a high-growth trajectory. However, India is still one of the poorest countries on earth. To ensure better lives for our citizens, we need to sustain a consistently high growth rate for several decades.

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Governance and

In the long term, the institutions of a country are perhaps the greatest determinant of its growth and development. Institutions are the “rules of the game in a society”; they determine incentives and outcomes in all spheres of human life.

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Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainability

This theme focuses on contemporary issues related to climate change, sustainability and natural resources especially water, forest and land. Our work on these issues attempts to analyze policies and their implementation from people’s perspective, their experiences and learning.

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India’s Place in the

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.

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Disclaimer: RGICS is the division of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation engaged in the study of contemporary issues. The views represented in the various papers/articles/videos on the RGICS website are those of the respective authors /speakers and do not represent the views of the Trustees of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.