India must promote itself as a Soft Power: Tharoor

India must promote itself as a soft power as it seeks to take on the 21st century, says the UN Under Secy-Gen for Communications and Public Information.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2007 22:09 IST

India must promote itself as a soft power as it seeks to take on the 21st century, the United Nations Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Shashi Tharoor, said on Saturday.

"If there is one attribute of independent India to which we have not perhaps paid enough attention, it is a quality which we would do well to cherish and promote in today's world - our soft power," Tharoor said while addressing the concluding session of the fourth Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

A term coined by Joseph Nye, Dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, "Soft power" is the ability to get what you want by attracting and persuading others to adopt your goals.

It differs from hard power, the ability to use the carrots and sticks of economic and military might to make others follow your will.

India's very own candidate for the UN Secretary General's post, Tharoor said that India has to consistently enhance its soft power -- not just by material accomplishments, but also in terms of values and principles for which India stands.

"India must reclaim its true heritage in the eyes of the world. Our democracy, our thriving free media, our contentious NGOs, our energetic human rights groups, and the repeated spectacle of our remarkable general elections, all made India a rare example of the successful management of diversity in the developing world. This has been an immeasureable asset for our country," the swashbuckling and suave diplomat said.

He said that India has become an important proponent in the UN and is playing a role in combating terrorism. "India has to work in tandem with the world order to combat critical issues like terrorism, Democracy and sustainable development."

Tharoor said that India could beat superpowers like the United States, but it has to go an extra mile to achieve that. "With its diversity, India has proved that it can compete with the first world countries like US in terms of soft power."

"The United States has successfully made India and other countries of the third world a ground for its IT industry. Though India is equally competent in all that the United States has developed, we need to do more. We have to promote ourselves as a superpower by developing our soft skills in IT globally," Tharoor, who lost to Ban Ki-Moon in the race for the UN top job, added.

First Published: Apr 15, 2007 10:38 IST