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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



  • 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.





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.



  • 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.




  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)