Why in News?
Kanti Bajpai writes: Classical India may stand alongside classical China in the regard it garners, but contemporary India has been left behind.
Syllabus—GS2: India-China Ties
- The common notion that Even though China has a hard-power advantage (Economic & Military power) over India, it lacks behind India in the soft arena is totally misunderstood.
- Even in the Soft power sphere, China is more attractive than India.
What is Soft power & it’s Components?
- Soft power is the ability to persuade rests on the power of attraction.
- In simple terms, it is the ability to getting things done by others using persuasion.
- In Joseph Nye’s View, soft power consists of Foreign Policy, Cultural & Political Influence.
- Foreign policy influence comes from the legitimacy & morality of one’s dealings with others.
- Cultural influence is based on other’s respect for one’s culture.
- Political influence is how much others are inspired by one’s political values.
- Soft power is difficult to measure but Australia’s Lowy institute came out with various measures that correspond to foreign policy influence, cultural & political influence.
India versus China: Soft Power battle
- In the overall diplomatic influence, Among 25 Asian powers, China stands at first while India ranks sixth.
- The diplomatic influence further divided into the following:
- Diplomatic Networks: though India nearly matches China in the number of regional embassies but it considerably lags behind the number of embassies worldwide.
- Multilateral Power: Even though India matches China in terms of regional memberships, but its contribution to the UN capital budget is completely dwarfed by Chinese contributions (11.7% ton0.8% of the total).
- Foreign policy leadership, ambition & effectiveness: China ranks 1st or 4th on four measures while India ranks between 4th & 6th in Asia.
- In the overall Cultural Influence measure, India stands at 4th place & China at 2nd place in Asia.
- Lowy further divided cultural influence into 3 following elements:
- Cultural projection: India scores better on Google searches & it also exports more of its cultural services.
- But China does better on several other indicators, such as:
- India has only 9 brands, while China has 73 brands in the list of the top 500 global brands.
- On the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, India has 37 while China has 53.
- In the travel visa-free sphere, an Indian passport is allowed only in 60, while a Chinese passport can do in 74 countries.
- Information flows: In 2016-17, India hosted a mere 24000 Asian students in tertiary education institutions whereas China hosted 2.25 Lakhs.
- Tourist arrivals: In 2017, India clocked 5 million arrivals from Asia whereas China clocked 41 million & ranked 1st among 25 Asian countries.
- On total tourist arrivals from all over the world, India received 17 million while China received 63 million.
- Finally, in the political influence measure of 2017, both are placed close enough.
- The governance effectiveness index shows India scoring in the top 43% countries worldwide & ranked 12th.
- While China scoring in the top 32% & ranked 10th.
- In political stability & absence of violence/terrorism, India ranked 21st & China ranked 15th.
- The comparison between India & China on soft power is mixed, though China beats India in most of the measures but the difference is not so large.
- However, the numbers give always inconclusive & far from reality.
- In no conversation from International affairs to regional economy & technology, even in contemporary culture, China is absent.
- But whereas India is not present in most areas.
- Even if India is in the conversation, the confidence in its regional ambitions, capabilities & culture & political fit with Southeast Asia is low.
Way Forward: –
- Around the world, in the current era China evokes awe, India evokes silence.
- Classical India stands head-to-head with classical China in the regard it garners, but Contemporary India has been left a distance behind.
- Its high time for India to recognize its soft power bottlenecks & has to work hard to give superior competition to China.
The comparison between India and China on soft power is mixed — China surpasses India far more than the other way round, though the difference in some cases is not large. Comment