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Day 90 – Q 1.Expand upon the concept of soft power. What role does India’s diaspora play in making India a soft power? Examine.

1. Expand upon the concept of soft power. What role does India’s diaspora play in making India a soft power? Examine. 

सॉफ्ट पावर की अवधारणा पर विस्तार करें। भारत को सॉफ्ट पावर बनाने में भारत के प्रवासी की क्या भूमिका है? जांच करें।


Soft power is a term coined by Joseph Nye in the late 1980s where it refers to the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion. As countries work to make sense of the rapidly changing global context and adjust strategies accordingly, the soft power resources at the disposal of governments will be a critical part of the foreign policy tools needed going forward. 


  • The content of soft power can be put into three categories: cultural, ideological, and institutional. In these areas, the world would want to be like the nation projecting soft power. And that pull, in turn, would help the nation shape the world.
  • For example, the United States can dominate others, but it has also excelled in projecting soft power. U.S. culture, ideals, and values have been extraordinarily important in helping U.S attract partners and supporters.a
  • Soft power shuns the traditional foreign policy tools of carrot and stick, seeking instead to achieve influence by building networks, communicating compelling narratives, establishing international rules, and drawing on the resources that make a country naturally attractive to the world.
  • Nye acknowledges the limits of soft power- it tends to have diffuse effects on the outside world and is not easily wielded to achieve specific outcomes. For example, societies often embrace American values and culture but resist U.S. foreign policies.

India could always count itself among the few nations with strong cards in the arena of soft power. The basis of India‟s soft power is its culture, secularism, spiritualism, music, dance, Bollywood, Yoga, Ayurveda, a tradition of good learning and most importantly the “Indian Diaspora (ID)”. 

  • There are 25 million people of Indian origin living outside India. Therefore, India has the second largest population not only in India; it has the second largest population of Indian diaspora across the world as well.  
  • According to the 2018 World Bank Report, remittances from the Indian overseas community are the highest in the world at $79 billion. The overseas Indian community is a composition of diverse, heterogeneous and widespread global communities representing different regions, languages, cultures and faiths and religions. 
  • The Indian diaspora can be seen as acting as an agent of India’s soft power in the following manner-
    1. Culture: They from the very beginning are conscious about their rich cultural heritage, knowing the fact that they are the inheritors of the world‟s oldest civilization. Eg- ISKCON in western countries.
    2. Knowledge: The knowledge, which they carry with them to the visiting countries especially, in case of professional migration or the post-colonial migration in the western developed countries, clearly indicates the claim of India to become a knowledge super power very soon in this twenty first century. Eg- Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella.
    3. Yoga: One of India‟s most important therapy of longevity i.e. yoga has now been embraced by almost everyone in the world. It is no less than a cultural win for India.  June 21 as the International Day of Yoga can be seen in this context.
    4. Food: The delicious Indian food is not less in contributing to the soft power of India. It creates attraction for India every single time the foreigners taste the Indian food. 
  • Further, the role of diaspora in India’s soft power projection can be seen from the case of Indian community in the USA. Indian diasporic community in the US is transforming the historic hostile relations between the two countries. 
  • With their efforts, the US Congress enacted various immigration laws under Immigration Act of 1965, 1990, etc. favoring the immigrants from Asia, especially the Indians. The US Indian community‟s remarkable lobbying efforts were commendable in relation to the finalizing of the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. 
  • Silicon Valley is the home to perhaps the most successful Indian community, which has fostered innovation, cultivated angel funding and incubation for start-up ventures. They have created both value and wealth in their host country and elsewhere.


Diaspora is a significant player who can very well play the game of soft power for foreign policy outcomes. Certainly, India‟s policy towards its diaspora has been quite progressive with the recognition of diaspora as a partner in India‟s growth and it can further play a very proactive role in influencing various issues concerning the interest of the home country. 

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