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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Indian foreign policy is increasingly drawing on a perception of its rising soft power. If effective, it should make global partners more open to Indian views and interests. However, significant impediments remain to cementing India’s fragile gains in leveraging its soft power on the global stage. Its assets include its ancient and distinct cultural heritage, the Bollywood film industry, and its status as the world’s largest democracy, albeit one that is developing and changing rapidly. The government’s increasing foreign assistance and public diplomacy programs are soft power instruments. It nevertheless remains unclear whether New Delhi can translate these assets into increasing the influence of India in policy circles internationally and among the broader international publics. For this to happen, India must design and resource coherent strategies for promoting its soft power abroad at the same time as it addresses domestic challenges that reflect little credit on it internationally.

Keywords: India, foreign policy, soft power, democracy, foreign assistance, public diplomacy, Bollywood

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