India's soft power
The soft power was first used in the 1980’s by Joseph Nye. The term "soft power" refers to the of a country to influence others to do what it wants without force or coercion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is noncoercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. Soft power is now widely acknowledged for its importance and invoked in foreign policy debates.
India’s soft power extends beyond cuisine, Yoga and Bollywood. India has been providing financial assistance to smaller neighbours such as Nepal and Bhutan since 1947. India has been viewed as a leader against colonialism in Asia and in Africa. It was considered the leader in the Non Aligned Movement and has consistently provided technical assistance, training as well as foreign aid to these Asian and African states.
India’s soft power can broadly encompass cultural and institutional soft power resources. This is provided a good foundation by the large Indian diaspora in many countries. The Indian diaspora which is part of India’s colonial legacy, has grown many fold recently as Indians have traveled around the world for higher education and employment opportunities.
Indian soft power includes Indian sports with the popularity of Kabaddi being one recent manifestation of this. Indian music made popular by Beatles and Pandit Ravishankar is now popular thanks to Indian films led by Bollywood. Indian art, film, literature, beauty pageantry, anti-colonial history, democratic institutions, free press, independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, multi-ethnic polity, secularism, pluralism, skilled English-speaking workers, food, handicrafts, yoga, status as a responsible nuclear power, the rapid growth of the information technology sector in places such as Bangalore. Indian soft skills are also promoted by prominent Indian personalities be it the CEO’s of global companies like Indira Nooyi, Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella or film personalities like Priyanka Chopra.