Report on ‘India’s Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy : Prospects & Limitations’

Report on ‘India’s Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy: Prospects & Limitations’

Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs has submitted its report on the work done by the government regarding ‘India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy’.

‘Soft power’ is the ability of a country, through which it can persuade other countries to fulfill its wish without the use of force or pressure.

A country’s soft power lies in its attractiveness, and this attractiveness stems from three sources: its culture, its political values, and its foreign policies.

India channels the following resources under its soft power policy. These resources include Indian art and literature, Indian cuisine, yoga and traditional medicine, Indian cinema and sports, Indian democracy and its constitution, etc.

Challenges:

  • There is ambiguity in the assignments given to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Sufficient budget is not allotted to the council and related institutions on time.
  • There is a lack of coordination among many institutions, and their roles also conflict.
  • There is a lack of skilled and dedicated workforce to work in the field of ‘soft power’.

Committee Recommendations:

  • ICCR should make proper budget allocation. A coordination mechanism should be established between the Ministry of External Affairs and the ICCR and other relevant ministries.
  • The report asked the government to prepare a policy document on India’s uses of soft power.
  • According to the report, a formal study of existing international best practices in the use of soft power should be taken up on a priority basis.
  • A multi-pronged approach should be adopted for religious and medical tourism through infrastructure and skilled expertise.
  • A study group should be set up to evaluate the working of ICCR vis-à-vis foreign counterparts like British Council, American Center etc.

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)

  • ICCR was established in the year 1950 with the objective of promoting Indian culture and its values abroad, and to strengthen cultural exchanges between India and other countries.
  • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations is an autonomous organization of the Government of India under the Ministry of External Affairs.

Functions of ICCR:

  • ICCR organizes cultural festivals, performances, exhibitions and lectures in India and abroad.
  • Acts as a medium of cooperation with international organizations, cultural institutions and foreign governments to promote cultural exchange.

Source – The Print

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