Soft Power - The New Race Every Country Wants To Win

INDIAN POLITY CURRENT AFFAIRS INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS NITI AAYOG GOVERNMENT DIPLOMACY FOREIGN POLICY
27 Sep, 2022

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Theme : International Relations
Paper: GS - 2

According to Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index, India ranks 27th in terms of soft power. According to Harvard political scientist, neo-liberal academician, Joseph Nye in 1980, the one who coined the term ‘soft power’, It is a “power of attraction through culture, political ideas, and policies rather than coercion”

  • It is the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without resorting to force or coercion.
  • Soft power lies in a country’s attractiveness and comes from three resources: its culture, its political values, and its foreign policies.

TABLE OF CONTENT

  1. Context
  2. What is Soft Power
  3. Examples of Soft Power
  4. Benefits of Soft Power
  5. Interesting Points from a Survey
  6. India : Soft Power & Sports
  7. NITI Aayog 20-point plan report
  8. Road Ahead

Context  : According to Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index, India ranks 27th in terms of soft power.

What is Soft Power : 

According to Harvard political scientist, neo-liberal academician, Joseph Nye in 1980, the one who coined the term ‘soft power’, It is a “power of attraction through culture, political ideas, and policies rather than coercion”

  • It is the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without resorting to force or coercion.
  • Soft power lies in a country’s attractiveness and comes from three resources: its culture, its political values, and its foreign policies.

Examples of Soft Power :

  • India boasts an amazing variety and wealth of soft power resources. Its spiritualism, yoga, movies and television soaps, classical and popular dance and music, its principles of nonviolence, democratic institutions, plural society, ayurveda and cuisine have all attracted people across the world.
  • Indian spirituality has had a global presence for a long time. One of its manifestations is the large number of Yoga centers running across the world. Indian classical dances enjoy a high degree of world-wide acclaim and appreciation.
  • The global popularity of Bollywood films is another instance of the strength of India’s soft power.
  •  Buddhism, of course, was India’s offering to the world, and combined with it there were, undoubtedly, cultural influences, the signs of which are apparent even today, particularly in Southeast Asia.
  • From Yoga to spirituality to Bollywood; Bharatnatyam to Buddhism; cuisine to tourism, India has immense potential to use its Soft Power for expanding its global outreach.

Benefits of Soft Power :

  • A strong nation brand and positive soft power perceptions allow a nation to promote itself as a place for people to visit, invest in, and build a reputation for their quality of goods and services.
  • It allows a country to rise in the esteem of its neighbors, market its resources and compose the face it presents on the international stage.
  • The soft power can encourage domestic tourism, consumption of domestic goods and services (rather than imports).

Interesting Points from a Survey :

  • Empirical evidence: Until recently there has been no empirical evidence whether performance in the Olympics or other world championships improved soft power or not.
  • Dongfeng Liu (International Professor of Sport Management for the Shanghai campus of the Sport Business School): It surveyed French citizens in 2020 on China’s performance in the Olympics, found that a country’s achievement has a positive effect on its national soft power.
  • Training Athletes from African countries such as Madagascar in China: which helps Beijing create a positive impact on a wider population and result in better formal relations as well.

India : Soft Power & Sports :

  • Tokyo Olympics Games- India’s medal tally in the recent Tokyo Olympics Games is seven.
  • India has one of the world’s poorest population-to-medal ratios in the Olympics.
  • India has won 35 medals at the Olympics since the 1900 edition.
  • Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG)- At the CWG 2022, Indian athletes won 61 medals, including 22 golds.
  • Thomas Cup- India's badminton team stunned 14-time champions Indonesia at the men's finals for a historic win at the 2022 Thomas Cup.
  • Chess Olympiad 2022- The 44th edition of the FIDE Chess Olympiad 2022 is currently being hosted by India for the first time.

NITI Aayog 20-point plan report :

In 2016, a NITI Aayog report came up with a 20-point plan to improve India’s Olympics performance :

  • Early age athletics: The report said India still lacks a favorable atmosphere for sports to polish the skills of early-stage athletes.
  • Grass root levels: It recommended efforts to be made at the family, community to school, regional academies, State and national levels to improve things.
  • Coaches: Ensuring competent coaches
  • Funding: Having adequate funding and more sports academics.

Road Ahead :

  • MoUs with Nations: India should concentrate on forging MoUs with nations that excel in specific sports.
    • The aim should be to train Indian players overseas.
  • India needs to boost the number of athletes under TOPS : At least 500 athletes should train under the scheme to foster a competitive climate, in turn aiding performance.
  • Private investment: It needs to be harnessed to develop infrastructure.
    • The better a country performs in sporting events the greater a sports person’s interest in their sports atmosphere.
    • This also creates a huge market for private players to invest.
  • Public-private partnership (PPP) model: The Government should also work on a PPP model to create basic sporting infrastructure, as recommended by NITI Aayog, at the district level so that talent can be captured at an early stage.
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) claims: The Tokyo Olympic Games was watched by over billions.
    • This proves that there is a great opportunity for India to use such events as a platform to enhance its soft power that relies on its cultural heritage