Analysing China’s soft power strategy and comparative Indian initiatives

Smruti S. Pattanaik is Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • July 2018
    Book Review

    Soft power has become a new currency of power in international relations. It assumes more significance with countries that are sovereign equals but vulnerable to dominance and hegemonic actions by powerful states in international system. Especially in countries that are extremely sovereignty-sensitive, actions through soft power becomes more acceptable as a means of intervention whether it is economic or cultural investment Of dominant powers. American soft power is much more about the attractiveness of America as a liberal democracy. In spite of global dominance and its ability for unilateral interference in other countries’ domestic and foreign affairs, the country still attracts migrants and the best brains from all over the world. It is its liberal values, democratic institutions, progressive societal values and world class institutions that provide the US an advantage over other developed countries and attracts people. In this context, it is interesting how China’s soft power works, and the components of soft power that China uses. This study by Parama Sinha Palit is interesting and unique as it has rarely been studied by scholars in comparative perspective. India and China has expanded their foot prints and are seen as rivals in South and South east Asia and Africa. While there are scholarships on India’s soft power potential, i.e. Daya Kishan Thussu ‘Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood’ (2013) and Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Pax Indica: India and the World in the 21st Century’, China’s use of soft power remains a much understudied subject.