Can India teach China how to use soft-power?

World

13 Mar 2018

According to Chinese media, what can China learn from India?

Chinese state media is normally known to be high on rhetoric and jingoism, condemning India at every opportunity. However, it recently praised India for doing a better job at showcasing its "soft power."

However, it also quickly added that China leads India in the military and economic sphere.

So, how is India ahead in the race of "cultural exports?" Here's more.

What is a country's "soft power?"

Usually, to get their way in international relations, countries use coercion or force, also referred to as hard power. Conversely, soft power is a persuasive way to increase one's influence. It uses culture, political values and foreign policies to achieve goals.

India

How has India outsmarted China in this race?

How has India outsmarted China in this race?

The state-backed Global Times claimed that India has used its culture to its advantage.

From a master's degree to therapy, "non-religious" yoga is popular for education and de-stressing, it added.

Further, it said that Bollywood "has truly played an important role in stretching Indian soft power into China."

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Perception

So, how is this changing Chinese perception of Indians?

Earlier, China's impression of India was limited to negative news about "rapes, slums and sewage." They saw India as "dirty, disorderly and backward third-world nation."

However, Bollywood films focusing on social issues like poverty, education, gender inequality, etc. have made it easier for Chinese audience to identify with it.

The article remarked, "They have been giving a more wholesome picture of modern India."

China

Meanwhile, what has China exported as cultural influence?

Meanwhile, what has China exported as cultural influence?

Most of China's attempts at projecting their cultural influence haven't been popular. Setting up Confucius Institutes on university campuses attracted criticism.

Further, despite investing hugely in its film industry, it hasn't had a big crossover hit since Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in 2000.

In addition, effects of its most ambitious soft-power project, $1tn "One Belt One Road" is yet to be seen.

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