The Soft Power of India

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India’s soft power is on the rise, in parallel with its economic power as one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. This chapter discusses India’s soft power within four domains: firstly, the democratic strengths of India, a particular distinction among the BRICS countries. As the world’s largest democracy, India has retained and arguably strengthened democracy in a multi-lingual, multi-racial and multi-religious society. The second domain examines the diasporic dimension of India’s international presence, increasingly viewed by Indian government and corporates as a vital resource for its soft power. As the world’s largest English-language speaking diaspora, the Indian presence is visible across the globe. The third domain focuses on the emergence of an Indian internet – part of the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, launched in 2015 - and its potential for becoming the world’s largest ‘open’ internet. The chapter argues that, with the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the push for digital commerce and communication is likely to increase. Already home to the world’s second largest internet population, its creative and cultural industries, notably Bollywood, have the potential to circulate across various digital domains, resulting in globalized production, distribution and consumption practices. However, the chapter argues that these three domains of soft power will remain ineffective until India is able to eliminate its pervasive and persistent poverty, afflicting large number of its citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalDossiê BRICS: Digital Technology, Culture and Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • Soft Power
  • India
  • Diaspora
  • Democracy
  • Digital India


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