While India’s global influence has a long and complex history, this chapter suggests that, as India emerges as a major economic power (on purchasing power parity terms, it is the world’s third largest economy), the country’s cultural power will also grow. This process is also underpinned by its 25-million strong diaspora, seen by the Modi government as a key strategic resource for promoting the country’s soft power. From mobile telephony to online communication, India has witnessed a revolution in the production and distribution of its cultural products, as well as a steady growth of Indic ideas-ranging from sustainable living and alternative lifestyles to celebratory religiosity and multilingualism-and now reaching all corners of an increasingly digitized globe. The chapter argues, however, that the populist streak in policy restricts the potential of a global India, especially since the pluralism for which India is known is increasingly under strain in the majoritarian discourse of current domestic and foreign policy.
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