- Prelims: Current events of international importance, Olympics, CWGs, NITI Ayog etc
- Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India, effect of policies of developed and developing countries on India etc
- Soft power(Joseph Nye Jr): It is a “power of attraction through culture, political ideas, and policies rather than coercion” that military hard power exhibits.
INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE
- It is the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without resorting to force or coercion.
- Soft power lies in a country’s attractiveness and comes from three resources: its culture, its political values, and its foreign policies.
- According to Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index, India ranks 27th in terms of soft power.
Need to Deliver on Soft Power
- For creating Goodwill
- As a Strategic Investment
- Post Pandemic Changes
- Trade and Investment flow
- To build an image of a trusted and reliable partner
Present reflection of Soft power:
- Increased interest(especially by smaller nations) in investing more and doing well in elite sports: It is thought that success in international sporting events boosts a nation’s chances of attaining soft power.
- Impact of participating and winning: The medals won not only provide pride but also demonstrate the country’s soft power on the global stage and encourage working towards the status of a great “geopolitical actor”.
A survey on soft power:
- Empirical evidence: Until recently there has been no empirical evidence whether performance in the Olympics or other world championships improved soft power or not.
- Dongfeng Liu (International Professor of Sport Management for the Shanghai campus of the Sport Business School): It surveyed French citizens in 2020 on China’s performance in the Olympics, found that a country’s achievement has a positive effect on its national soft power.
- Training Athletes from African countries such as Madagascar in China: which helps Beijing create a positive impact on a wider population and result in better formal relations as well.
- Population to medal ratio: India has one of the world’s poorest population-to-medal ratios when it comes to the Olympics.
- Indian Olympic medal winners article: A comprehensive list: It shows that India has won 35 medals at the Olympics since the 1900 edition.
Reasons for India’s disappointing performance:
- Exposure at elementary level: Professional engagement in sports is hampered by the relatively low and scant exposure of Indians to sports at the elementary school level.
- Less spending: India spends only three paise per day per capita on sports.
- In contrast, China spends ₹6.1(six point one) per day per capita.
- Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS): Ministry of Sports launched TOPS to improve India’s performance at the Olympics and Paralympics
- There is extra monetary assistance and training from the best national and international coaches.
NITI Aayog 20-point plan report:
- Early age athletics: The report said India still lacks a favorable atmosphere for sports to polish the skills of early-stage athletes.
- Grass root levels: It recommended efforts to be made at the family, community to school, regional academies, State and national levels to improve things.
- Coaches: Ensuring competent coaches
- Funding: Having adequate funding and more sports academics.
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) claims: The Tokyo Olympic Games was watched by over 05(three point zero five)billion people.
- This proves that there is a great opportunity for India to use such events as a platform to enhance its soft power that relies on its cultural heritage.
- MoUs with Nations: India should concentrate on forging MoUs with nations that excel in specific sports.
- The aim should be to train Indian players overseas.
- For example, Australia and the United Kingdom can assist us in swimming given their standing here.
- India needs to boost the number of athletes under TOPS : At least 500 athletes should train under the scheme to foster a competitive climate, in turn aiding performance.
- Private investment: It needs to be harnessed to develop infrastructure.
- The better a country performs in sporting events the greater a sports person’s interest in their sports atmosphere.
- This also creates a huge market for private players to invest.
- Public-private partnership (PPP) model: The Government should also work on a PPP model to create basic sporting infrastructure, as recommended by NITI Aayog, at the district level so that talent can be captured at an early stage.
QUESTION FOR PRACTICE
- The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalized Nations has disappeared on account of its new found role in the emerging global order” Elaborate.(UPSC 2019)
(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)