India must build on its 'soft power' - Tharoor | india | Hindustan Times
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India must build on its 'soft power' - Tharoor

Former diplomat Shashi Tharoor says India must build on its 'soft power', which manifests in Bollywood movies, cricket, cuisines etc, if it is to attain its deserved place in the world.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2008 03:54 IST

India must build on its 'soft power', which manifests in Bollywood movies, cricket, cuisines etc, if it is to attain its deserved place in the world, former diplomat Shashi Tharoor said on Monday.

"Be it our passion for cricket or tennis, or whenever a Bhangra beat is fused into Western music, or whenever an Indian woman wins a Miss Universe or whenever Indian fashion designers showcase their creations abroad, India's soft power is enhanced," Tharoor said delivering the 25th Silver jubilee C D Deshmukh lecture in New Delhi.

Explaining 'soft power' as the 'attraction', which the culture and the civilisation of a country holds for the people outside, Tharoor insisted that it is "just one arrow in nation's armour.

"Soft power becomes credible only if it is backed by military power", he said substantiating his example of United States, whose 'soft power', he added, was built through brands like Mcdonalds, Disney, Coca-cola.

Tharoor, who was India's nominee for the United Nations Secretary-General post, said the soft power was used by "Gandhi to win India's independence", and described fascinating instances where a changing 21st century India was altering conventional paradigms about it while enhancing its soft power.

"In Afghanistan, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Nahu Thi is the most popular programme. People do not like to be disturbed between 8:30 to 9:00 pm. That is an example of India's soft power", he said.

However, he warned against "negative perceptions" which were formed when basic values like freedom of speech, democracy, liberty and tolerance were stifled, and which hurt India's 'soft power'.