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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS :Soft power, the new race every country wants to win

 

Source: The Hindu

 

  • 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

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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

Context

Soft power:

  • 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.

 

India’s Position:

  • 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.

 

Initiatives:

  • 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.

 

 

Way Forward

  • 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

  1. 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)