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The Power of Indian Diaspora as a Soft Power Tool

The demands and expectations of diaspora communities from the Indian government.

Assessing strength of Indian diaspora

Soft power is cultivated and developed, attracted by the country's political ideals, agenda, culture, and policies.

Soft power is cultivated and developed, attracted by the country's political ideals, agenda, culture, and policies.

The power of the Indian diaspora as a soft power tool

The Indian diaspora and its soft power

The concept of any country diaspora commences with human involvement and dimensions as it links the two countries. The extent of human scattering, dispersion, settlement, and migration to other countries plays a key role in developing inter-country and international relations because these people are dispersed out of their traditional homeland to mix with other world communities. Hence, they live between two countries, distributing to two diverse cultures, living with emotional sentiments of two nations, while conserving two societies social connections. The diaspora tries to manipulate their involvement to influence the country’s foreign procedures without intimidation to use hard power, they inherently form a tool of soft power in the vicinity of foreign policymakers. Specifically, in Southeast Asia, the ethnic Indians have turned out to be an integral fraction of their societies. Such diaspora communities have since been acting as a relationship, cultivating bridges joining two regions. Yet, utilizing diaspora as the means to improve Indian foreign policy is almost a new phenomenon. Let us analyze and investigate the Indian diaspora in Southeast Asia as a tool of soft power and appraises whether the diaspora can turn out to be the vital force to be prepared for in the calculations of Indian foreign strategies, plans, and policies.

Soft power concept

The eminent IR - the international relations scholar like Joseph Nye, the political scientist of America, defined soft power as the basic capability, aptitude, and facility of one country to acquire what they want from the other country by the means of attraction and persuasion.

There is an increased soft power concept and relevance to understanding the relationship with foreign country policies after the Cold War era. Consequently, soft power has become additionally pertinent and appropriate in the country’s foreign policy, because the real political mentality has been diverted towards the logical interdependence, integration, and globalization soon after the Soviet Union downfall and the expected victory of liberal democracy.

Soft Power is the Power of attraction, as emphasized by Joseph Nye, and it has been repeatedly discussed and conferred in the global arena, seminars in relation to policy formation, literature contents, and yet the concept and force of Soft Power in not entirely utilized to its fullest extent. This is because the specific and precise mechanisms, tools, machinery, and methods are not strategically implemented by which the intensity of the soft power will completely influence the international political and industrial actors. This intends to investigate and understand those vital mechanisms and tools that design, the soft power concept by generating the scale of authority and control-based tools highly useful that instigate various degrees of hard and soft power. Furthermore, this will elaborate and explore various dynamic mechanisms by which the soft power strategy can be implemented to process and influence international actors that can be set up to accomplish specific goals. This can be initiated by interpreting and conceptualizing the progressive and enlightened ways of using the soft power tools considering them as the main objects to control, manage and utilize by the policy‐makers, like the setting of the agenda, designing and framing more useful, creative, and practical functioning analytical variables by which we can understand more specific values of international cooperation and relations so as to provide effective policy recommendations.

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Today, the soft power is governed by the capability to persuade and attract, while, the hard power, in the prevailing circumstances, is the measure taken by the human community to claim successfully implementation of the monopoly and the legitimate application of limited physical force within their secured territory, in other words, it is the capable attributes to coerce and intimidate using the country's economic and military might. Soft power is cultivated and developed, attracted by the country's political ideals, agenda, culture, and policies, while hard power is crucial to the country to protect and guard their independence and sovereignty, which can otherwise turn to violence.

In the recent past, China and Russia have discharged innumerable resources into the expanse specifically to link soft power, with the mental, physical, financial, and legal powers to accomplish their goals to influence others by persuasion and attraction, either candidly or compliant surrogates. They have invested several billion dollars to augment their worldwide influence by way of culture, media, academia, think tanks, and several other means and spheres, as these two countries were under the belief that only affiliation, persuasion, and connections are not compatible with authoritarianism.

As such, the political stalwarts argue that there is a rising connectedness with other countries, a sudden augmentation of new actors in the global political arena, as they are making new attempts at regional as well as international level to integrate by decreasing the hard power appeal traditionally followed. They further emphasize that soft power is going to be the modern Lingua Franca of the world power and political agenda. As we have witnessed, the USA has botched its intention to transform Afghanistan and Iraq into an effective functioning political state, well managed and governed the country by using its military power to topple the country’s dictatorship. Also, from a different point of view, the EU - European Union has progressively enlarged by persuading several previously communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe using the appealing concept of soft power within the IR- International Relation scholars, and also the practitioners of overseas policies. Hence, it is clear that the development of identity politics at one end and the human empowerment by technological inventiveness at the other end have made them victorious, and that has come mainly by winning the minds and hearts of human beings. In its essence, applies to the leveraging power of narratives. Today, the concept of Soft Power stands tall and signifies to be a vital field of alternative storylines followed intensely by the various policymakers and political realms. Those who accomplished the goal to persuade others with a legitimate narrative emerged and transpired as victors in this competition. In short, the soft power sheds light on the conceptual purpose to ascertain the extent to which the idea of influencing and convincing still appeals to all and holds good in the global politics, as well rejuvenating politics observed in the recent years that have changed the mindset of people in Middle-East, Ukraine, Turkey, and Southeast Asia, which is the formation of eleven countries of inspiring diversity in culture, religion, and history, like Myanmar-Burma, Brunei, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, East Timor, and Cambodia.

Soft power is a strategic concept, strikingly new, and much more than the mere perception of the specific country's image worldwide and also at home. Its power has the valid sense and the ability to affect and generate choices of other people through the ideal instrument called Soft Power. It is not being a soft power, to use the ideas of soft power to gain effects. It is the power pertains to creating and intensifying two-country relationship. It is like the A country helps to shape the mindsets, behaviors, and preferences of B country. As such, the B country becomes the instrument and means that A country employs to create impact with behaviors and choices of the B country, which is the Situational in this case, while the A country is Relational. The existence, power, and role of the Soft Power speak and examine the A and B actors in developing a new relationship with each other. By the motivating power using the instruments of foreign policy is enough to assess the soft power and strength of the country.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Shyam Gokarn

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