The Union Government is developing soft power matrix, a tool aimed at calibrating effectiveness of India’s soft power outreach and foster better diplomatic traction in India’s immediate neighbourhood and beyond.
The process is currently at a research stage. It will help in dealings with neighbouring countries and serve better as operational instrument in India’s broader diplomatic doctrine.
The proposed matrix is being seen as attempt to establish linkages between India’s soft power and tangible outcomes in area of diplomacy. It will try and quantify this aspect of India’s diplomacy in wake of criticism that country has not been able to adequately leverage its ‘soft power’ in matters of foreign policy.
It is being developed to calibrate outreach efforts such as propagation of Gandhian values and philosophy, strength of Mumbai film industry, educational scholarships extended by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), extending humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to help mitigate adverse impact of natural disasters.
Currently, articulation of India’s soft power abroad is done through Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), with some 36 foreign cultural centres working to promote artistic and cultural traditions through range of activities such as Festivals of India abroad.
The Standing Committee on External Affairs in its report had recommended that MEA should formulate comprehensive and well-structured policy delineating India’s soft power resources and their articulation abroad. It was recommended that MEA and ICCR allocate resources to propagate image of India that augments country’s natural historical appeal, empowering its diplomacy and foreign policy.
Soft power is perceived to be an intangible ingredient of state’s power. It it is difficult to measure definite impact of these measures. India’s soft power so far is perceived as having functioned independently of government policies, without backing of focused policy or adequate backing with financial resources.