The Role of Soft Power and Hard Power in Nation-Building


Till the 1990s, the international community seems to have been aware only of hard power, even when they weren’t familiar with the term ‘hard-power’. Joseph Nye is credited with coining the term ‘soft power’. The term arose from a deeper reflection of the effectiveness of the foreign policy of his country – the US – up to then. Since then the term has caught the attention, especially of the diplomatic community. The full sense of how a nation is built come through the recognition that is accorded to it by the international community. For instance, the US is considered a super-power and China a rising power by the international community. India has been an inherently soft power country, with its soft power credentials going back to millennia, though it might have never been recognized as such. India-born religions, its culture, and diaspora have influenced various parts of the world as perhaps no other country has done. At present India as a nation is recognized as an emerging power in and through its soft power – democracy, diplomacy, culture, cultural products, economy, language, media, educational, soft-ware, and managerial skills – and hard power, exemplified through its military might. The paper would like to argue that in today’s international relations soft power is more helpful than hard power in building and showcasing India.


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