India's Growing Military and Economic Power Contrasts with Lagging Soft Power

India's military and economic growth outpaces its soft power development, limiting its global influence. Experts suggest a balanced approach to hard and soft power is crucial for India's rise as a major power.

Rafia Tasleem
New Update
India's Growing Military and Economic Power Contrasts with Lagging Soft Power

India's Growing Military and Economic Power Contrasts with Lagging Soft Power

India has witnessed substantial growth in its military and economic power over the past decade, but this progress has not been matched by a commensurate development of its soft power capabilities. The country's GDP growth estimate for the current fiscal year has been revised upwards from 7.3% to 7.6%, highlighting the resilience and strength of the Indian economy even amidst global challenges.

However, while India has made significant strides in bolstering its military might and economic prowess, it has not invested as heavily in cultivating its international image and influence through non-coercive means, which is often referred to as soft power. Soft power encompasses a nation's ability to shape the preferences and actions of others through appeal and attraction, rather than relying solely on military or economic coercion.

Why this matters: India's uneven development of hard and soft power has implications for its global standing and influence. As the world's largest democracy and a rising economic powerhouse, India has the potential to play a more prominent role on the international stage, but fully realizing this potential may require a more balanced approach to power projection.

Experts suggest that India's soft power deficit could limit its ability to effectively engage with other nations, shape global narratives, and advance its interests in a multipolar world. While India's rich cultural heritage, vibrant democracy, and growing economic clout provide a strong foundation for soft power projection, more proactive efforts may be needed to translate these assets into tangible influence.

As India continues its ascent as a major power in the 21st century, striking a balance between hard and soft power will be crucial. "India's rise as a global power cannot be complete without a commensurate growth in its soft power," noted a leading foreign policy analyst. Investing in public diplomacy, cultural exchanges, and international development initiatives could help India bridge this gap and enhance its global standing.

Key Takeaways

  • India's GDP growth revised to 7.6% despite global challenges.
  • India's military and economic power growth not matched by soft power.
  • Soft power crucial for India's global influence and interests.
  • India's soft power deficit may limit its international engagement.
  • Balancing hard and soft power is key for India's global ascent.