SOFT POWER - A MAJOR TOOL IN MODI’S FOREIGN POLICY KIT

Swaroopa Lahiri

Abstract


While India has always had various soft power strategies, they had limited success as they were not coupled with hard power such as a strong military force and advanced defense capabilities, notably nuclear capability. However, the past decade was an important turning point which marked India’s growing hard power, fuelled by robust economic growth and its assertive maritime policies, which in turn made strengthened its soft power projection. Soft power has become one of the cornerstones of the current Indian Premier Narendra Modi Doctrine and is an important theme in most of his state visits. This paper analyzes the different soft power components used by the Indian government, especially the Modi government, in order to further its foreign policy goals, as well as some of the limitations to India’s soft power potential. This paper is organized in the following manner: the first section defines soft power, Modi’s dominant foreign policy canons and how his government differs from the previous governments in the use of soft power; the second section focuses on the four broad tenets of Indian soft power namely civilization and ancient heritage (Buddhism, yoga, Ayurveda, Sanskrit etc.), democracy, Bollywood, economic aid and to a small extent, Modi’s personal charisma and how their exercise relates to India’s foreign policy objectives; the third section addresses the shortcomings of Indian soft power and the fourth section concludes the paper.


Keywords


Foreign policy; India; Narendra Modi; Soft power

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  Journal of South Asian Studies
ISSN: 2307-4000 (Online), 2308-7846 (Print)
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