Saturday, August 8, 2020
Home Opinions 'Culture' as a soft power diplomacy: Transforming India’s global image

‘Culture’ as a soft power diplomacy: Transforming India’s global image

In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how the Modi Government will optimise the potential use of culture as a diplomatic tool to influence other countries and leverage Indian cultural diplomacy as a bargaining capital to further promote India’s global image. 

India’s global image can be said to be engraved in the notion of ‘unity in diversity’, reflective of the wide mosaic of cultures and civilizations which has, and continues to, intrigued many across the world. As such, ‘Culture’ as an extension of ‘soft power’ diplomacy is recognised as an important instrument of India’s foreign policy in promoting linkages among people across countries.

Recognising the importance of the use of culture to develop a dialogue among civilizations, India, since its independence, has recognised the importance of cultural diplomacy as an instrument to connect to the world. For centuries, Indian arts, culture and religion have fascinated people from around the world. It has aroused curiosity among people, and in the process attracting them towards Indian culture and traditions. Keeping with this tradition, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a big leap further in promoting India’s cultural diplomacy and transforming India’s global image through the five pillars of his foreign policy namely – Samman (dignity), Samvaad (dialogue), Samriddhi (shared prosperity), Suraksha (regional and global security), and Sanskriti evam Sabhyata (Cultural and civilizational links). He has transformed India’s global reach by polishing, in the words of Joseph Nye, the ‘ability to get what you want through attraction than through coercion or payments’.

The most significant accomplishment in advancing India’s cultural diplomacy was the proclamation by the United Nations on 11 December 2014 to designate 21 June as the International Day of Yoga following PM Modi’s call to the United Nations General Assembly. The overwhelming response received every year on the International Day of Yoga reflects that the practice of yoga as part of Indian cultural diplomacy has gained both popularity and acceptance among a large section of people across countries. The effective use of Yoga as a diplomatic tool in India’s soft power projection is revitalising India’s global image in the minds of people abroad.

In promoting Indian cultural diplomacy, the Modi government has also revitalised its institutional mechanisms to strengthen and foster India’s cultural heritage. Under the Modi government since 2014, the work of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in promoting cultural diplomacy is notable. Through its Cultural Centres, spread in 37 countries, it has been engaged in organising cultural festivals in India and abroad, deputing Chairs of Indian Studies abroad, providing scholarships/fellowships to foreign students/ scholars to study in India and others such activities, thereby promoting not only cultural but broader linkages with countries across the world. To ensure quality and cater to the increasing demand, ICCR also empanels Yoga teachers to send them abroad to teach yoga. Since the celebration of International Day of Yoga formally in 2015, perception about Yoga has taken a new global dimension and promotion of Yoga as India’s gift to the world for the overall well-being of humanity has brought Yoga to the centre-stage. This is demonstrated by the increasing demand for Yoga classes in ICCR’s centres abroad.

- Advertisement -

ICCR has in recent years, under the current president, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, introduced various new programmes to promote the country’s ‘cultural identity’ worldwide in alignment with PM Modi’s vision to boost cultural diplomacy. With an objective to increase the global reach, ICCR has been engaged in successfully enlisting experts to the post of Directors of Indian Cultural Centres. The Council has also planned to organise programmes like ‘Understanding India’ and ‘Destination India’. ‘Understanding India’ is a one-week course for anyone who is curious to know about the country and understand its culture. ‘Destination India’, on the other hand, is a conference which is scheduled to be held in Pune in January 2020 to improve the flow of foreign students in the country.

The Council has also started celebrating International Ramayana Festival since 2015 to propagate Indian culture across the globe. Recognizing the importance of connecting with the world through shared cultural heritage, Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhemaintained,  ‘Ramayana is a global cultural treasure’ and ‘the festival is part of ICCR’s initiatives to foster global cultural pluralism by facilitating cultural exchanges between international artists participating in the festival and is a perfect gateway for Indian culture to experience it live’.

In another great move in boosting Indian cultural diplomacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi granted the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, known as AYUSH, a ministry status in 2014. Ministry of AYUSH has since been responsible for policy formulation, development and implementation of programmes for the growth, development and propagation of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy.

Exporting the products of popular culture in the form of music, art, cinema as well as other tools of cultural diplomacy to create favourable public opinion in other countries has been a priority for the Modi government in advancing its national interest. Considering the global support and growing interest to connect to the rich Indian cultural heritage, there is no denying the fact that PM Modi has been successful in advancing India’s interest through the promotion of Indian culture. This also speaks volumes of the political acumen of PM Modi at both national and global level. He has shown how the use of soft power can yield a long term tangible outcome as against hard power.

In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how the Modi Government will optimise the potential use of culture as a diplomatic tool to influence other countries and leverage Indian cultural diplomacy as a bargaining capital to further promote India’s global image. 

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Dr. Mukesh Kumar Srivastava
Dr. Mukesh Kumar Srivastava is Consultant at Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) (Ministry of External Affairs), New Delhi. Prior to this, he has worked at Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi and Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini (RMP).

Related Articles

Trending now

The curious case of Laila Tyabji’s epic meltdown, the ‘personal saree shopper’ of Sonia Gandhi

On the eve of #NationalHandloomDay on 7th August, founder of Dastkar and textiles Prima Donna Laila Tyabji chose to rant about this govt’s decision of scrapping of the Handloom Board

Does Rajdeep Sardesai think that untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput doesn’t deserve attention because he was not a “very big star”? Seems so

Calling the investigation into death of Sushant Singh Rajput a 'circus', Rajdeep Sardesai went on to claim that the issue has now turned out to be another feud between Mumbai Police and Bihar Police.

Supreme Court Registry officials face action for ‘wrongful’ listing of Prashant Bhushan’s plea bypassing Justice Arun Mishra’s bench, listing deleted

Prashant Bhushan plea against contempt court law was listed before justices Chandrachud & Joseph violating Supreme Court guidelines

Search for ‘Burnol’ saw a huge spike during Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan, people from Northeast appeared most interested

Amidst the meltdown suffered by Liberals, several Hindus started suggested that they should apply 'Burnol' to their 'burn wounds' that have been caused by the construction of the Ram Mandir

‘He saved our lives’: Survivors of AI plane crash hail Captain Sathe, who served for ‘Golden Arrows’, which has recently been recommissioned with Rafale...

Captain Deepak Sathe was a decorated former India Air Force pilot. He passed out from AFA with the 'Sword of Honour' in 1981.

‘These numbers are bewildering’: Watch how Rajdeep Sardesai refuses to believe India Today survey’s approval rating of PM Modi

Rajdeep Sardesai was rather shocked and bewildered as his own channel's survey seems to give PM Modi's handling of the economy an approval rating of 72%

Recently Popular

Pakistan borrows $1 Billion from its all-weather ally China to repay $1 Billion Saudi Arabia loan to avoid default on international debt obligations

China tightens its grip over Pakistan, gives $1 billion loan to repay Saudi Arabia's $1 billion loan, grants 90% of $6.8 billion railway project

Pakistan: Maulvi rapes child reading Quran in mosque in Sindh province, caught on CCTV

Muslim Cleric in Sindh province in Pakistan on the run after video of hem raping a child inside a mosque emerges, case registered

Hindus, the last standing major pagan culture in the world: Hagia Sophia, AIMPLB and why secularism is a scam

While Muslim majority Turkey wants to intervene in Kashmir, AIMPLB talks about the Hagia Sophia even as it wags its finger at the Supreme Court

“Ghus ke maro salo ko”: Muslims clashed with Hindus objecting to Ram Pujas on 5th August in West Bengal

Muslims came out in large numbers in Kolkata to prevent Hindus from celebrating the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan on 5th August

‘These numbers are bewildering’: Watch how Rajdeep Sardesai refuses to believe India Today survey’s approval rating of PM Modi

Rajdeep Sardesai was rather shocked and bewildered as his own channel's survey seems to give PM Modi's handling of the economy an approval rating of 72%

‘Be a good wife’: 14-year-old Christian girl Maria Shahbaz, abducted and converted to Islam, to be returned to her abductor, rules Lahore HC

The Lahore High Court has ruled in favour of a Muslim perpetrator who abducted, forcibly converted and married an underage Christian girl.

Tension in UP village after Lord Shiva Idol found vandalised by unknown miscreants during Shravan Mela

An idol of Lord Shiva was found vandalised by unknown miscreants in a Shiva Mandir in Sheikhpura Kabiruddinpur village in UP

The curious case of Laila Tyabji’s epic meltdown, the ‘personal saree shopper’ of Sonia Gandhi

On the eve of #NationalHandloomDay on 7th August, founder of Dastkar and textiles Prima Donna Laila Tyabji chose to rant about this govt’s decision of scrapping of the Handloom Board

Does Rajdeep Sardesai think that untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput doesn’t deserve attention because he was not a “very big star”? Seems so

Calling the investigation into death of Sushant Singh Rajput a 'circus', Rajdeep Sardesai went on to claim that the issue has now turned out to be another feud between Mumbai Police and Bihar Police.

Supreme Court Registry officials face action for ‘wrongful’ listing of Prashant Bhushan’s plea bypassing Justice Arun Mishra’s bench, listing deleted

Prashant Bhushan plea against contempt court law was listed before justices Chandrachud & Joseph violating Supreme Court guidelines

‘Previous govts did not pay any attention to Ayodhya, Yogi ji’s complete focus in on developing the birthplace of Ram’: Royal of Ayodhya

Bimlendra Pratap Mishra said that Ayodhya was robbed off its glory due to the absence of a Bhavya Ram Mandir.

AltNews ‘editor’ makes a hitlist of the Bollywood actors who tweeted in support of Ram Mandir after Bhoomi Pujan

Yesterday, AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair targeted a minor girl in his Twitter fight with a social media user.

Who really is Binod? Read how one Youtube comment triggered a bizarre meme fest

The name 'Binod', which has now become the talk of the town and trending on Twitter, originated from a YouTube channel 'Slayy Point'

Search for ‘Burnol’ saw a huge spike during Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan, people from Northeast appeared most interested

Amidst the meltdown suffered by Liberals, several Hindus started suggested that they should apply 'Burnol' to their 'burn wounds' that have been caused by the construction of the Ram Mandir

Will Dalits get entry into the Ram Temple? Here are 4 facts for those using casteism to divide Hindus after Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

Contrary to the narrative tried to be build by some people, Dalits have been welcomed in the Ram Mandir movement from the beginning

Connect with us

239,250FansLike
424,094FollowersFollow
293,000SubscribersSubscribe