Thursday, July 18, 2024

Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy

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Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy are interlinked and understanding both are essential to highlight the nuances of this diplomatic exercise

The global human society is in a constant state of flux.

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Every dimension and aspect of human activity is undergoing change in moments.

Culture provides people with ways of thinking, seeing and intepreting things around them, culture is ingrained in every aspect of human life.

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It can be seen in the clothes we wear to the food we eat and even the language we speal.

In Frode Liland’s dictum- “the cultural side of foreign policy is a vast and treacherous area”.

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Soft power is what refers to the new and more nuanced and layered dimensions of national power. It is markedly different from the notion of hard power which largely talks about military power and strength.

Soft power deals with the ability of nation-states to sway global public opinion and bolster its national interests.

This can be done by the appeal of its culture, knowledge, customs, traditions, history etc.

A Bharatiya Perspective

Whenever we talk of soft power and cultural diplomacy the first country that comes to mind is India- the land of Bharat.

Bharat is the land of myriad cultures, religions, sects, languages etc.

India besides China has inherited a civilization which over 5,000 years old and is rightly called the melting pot of the ancient and the medieval world.

Culture forms an integral part of the national power profile of India.

Cultural Diplomacy in the Modi Era

Since 2014 cultural diplomacy has been promoted as a cardinal feature of the Indian foreign policy.

Besides this a new and unique feature of Indian cultural diplomacy is that after prime minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of the Ram Mandir compound and the Kashi Vishwanath corridor, the government seems keen to promote cultural diplomacy to bolster the tourism numbers surrounding the popularity of the temples that are going to be build.

Nation-states across the globe should based on their shared cultural heritage, historical experiences and customs and traditions should develop effective ways of portraying themselves onto the global stage.

This can be done by using the tool of cultural diplomacy which would aid in increasing their soft power appeal.


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