Soft Power Brief – (Jan – Mar 2019)

Foreign Policy Brief: Update on Bharat’s Soft Power

Jan – Mar 2019

In 2015, India spelt its foreign policy vision summarized in the idea of Panchamrit or the five principles of Foreign Policy – Samman (Sovereign Respect), Samvad (Dialogue), Samriddhi (Prosperity), Sanskriti and Sabhyata (Culture and Civilization) and Suraksha (Security). This has aptly encapsulated India’s diplomatic conduct and the contributed substantially to the centrality India now enjoys in international relations. This soft power brief by the Centre for Strategic and Foreign Relations at Vision India Foundation highlights the realization of  Panchamrit in India’s foreign policy engagements. While in the past editions we have focused on the first four principles, this edition also talks about the fifth pillar – suraksha.

Foreign Policy Updates:

The Balakot Airstrike: Learnings from Ancient Wisdom on Warfare
In the two brilliant articles below, Gautam Chikermane, Vice President at Observer Research Foundation, draws learnings from India’s civilizational repository of warfare. He talks of a Rajasic transformation of India’s military and defence strategy in the aftermath of the Balakot Airstrike. The author refers to the learnings of Mahabharata, of dharma and of the right and wrongs of decisions in war, which Bhishma, the great warrior of Kurukshetra, could have possibly sermoned to PM Narendra Modi who has shown his full support to India’s fight against terrorism through dialogue and actions.

Operation Sahayata 2019: India, the First Responder to Cyclone-hit Mozambique
Three Indian naval ships responded to the humanitarian crises in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, severely affected by the cyclone IDAI. Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts of the Indian Navy successfully rescued 192 people and provided food and medical aid to several others. As the first responder to the evolving humanitarian crisis, India reflected its commitment towards being a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.
For more information: Club of Mozambique

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Comemmorates Indian Diaspora Linkages
Over 4000 People of Indian Origin (PIOs) and NRIs from 85 countries assembled in Varanasi for the three-day Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD). Focussing on the theme ‘role of Indian diaspora in building new India,’ the 15th edition of PBD was also attended by Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Members of Parliament of Norway and New Zealand. The delegation also visited the Kumbh Mela and attended the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, as the last leg of their visit.
For more details: The Times of IndiaNew Indian Express

Kumbh Mela Projects India’s Civilizational Heritage
The Kumbh Mela, organized in Prayagraj, was the largest peaceful congregation on the planet which saw a participation of over 24 crores (240 billion) people from across the world. Though a centuries-old tradition, this was the first edition which gained international recognition for its governance measures, revenue generation and employment avenues created as well as international engagement. Over thousands of travellers from across the globe and heads of missions of nearly 70 countries were invited by the government to participate in the festivities of the Kumbh. The Kumbh not just showcased India’s value systems and traditions but also reflected on the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbukam.
For more details: Business Standards

PM Narendra Modi Receives the 14th Seoul Peace Prize
Indian PM Narendra Modi received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize for 2018, for his exemplary contribution to ‘international cooperation and fostering global economic growth’. Established in 1990, the Seoul Peace Prize has been conferred to statesmen like former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The honour comes at a time when India and South Korea are charting a path towards strengthened defence cooperation as well as reviving civilizational linkages between the two countries.
For more information: The Indian Express

Opinion by Change-Agents:

The prevailing geopolitical environment has led New Delhi to re-thinks its foreign policy imperatives, particularly in its immediate neighbourhood. The following opinion pieces by the team for Strategic and Foreign Relations at VIF delve into the rising trends in India’s international relations.

  • BIMSTEC Reaffirms PM Modi-led Govt’s Strategic Focus in DNA India by Arunima Gupta
  • Sri Lanka Bombings and the Spearheading Arc of ISIS in India in IPP Review by Paras Ratna

Events at the Centre for Strategic and Foreign Relations
The Centre for Strategic and Foreign Relations is committed to strengthen India’s foreign policy interests through citizen awareness and participation in understanding India’s international imperatives. We believe this is the foremost step in building a promising leadership that unites to global communities for sustained development and shared prosperity.
With this motivation, we have successfully designed and organized the following events.
Young Diplomats Conclave, January 2018
Young Diplomats Conclave 2.0: Energizing Indo-ASEAN Ties, created a unique platform for young officers working at Delhi’s diplomatic enclave to enhance their understanding of India-ASEAN relations. Organized in collaboration with Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries (RIS), YDC was graced by eminent speakers including Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, DG RIS; Amb. Amar Sinha;  Ambassador of Indonesia to India H.ESidhartho Suryodipuro; Professor Harsh Pant, Director at Observer Research Foundation; Mr. Sanjay Pulipaka, Senior Fellow at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and Mr. Rajeev Kher, former Commerce Secretary of India.  To gain insights into the conference, have a look at the outcome report.

India and the World
Arunima Gupta, Manager and Paras Ratna, Associate Manager at the Centre for Strategic and Foreign Relations delivered a three-day module on India’s international relations as a part of the Public Policy Programme for Executives (P3E). The three days incorporated theoretical lenses from Kant to Kautilya, India’s foreign policy of ‘Act East’ and SAGAR in the Indo-Pacific and the importance of citizen participation in international relations.

Upcoming Programs
World Governance Expedition 2019 to Russia
Vision India Foundation is inviting application for the sixth edition of the  World Governance Expedition (WGE), a unique travel program, to study best governance practices across the world, WGE will be held from July 8th – 15th, 2019 in Russia. WGE aims at bringing together young professionals and passionate individuals in the realm of International Relations, Policy-Making, Public Leadership and Governance. With generous scholarships* for meritorious candidates, the WGE is an opportunity to gain first-hand experience of how cultures, strategy, politics and policy-making, converge, at the global level.
Applications Open:
At VIF we continue to maintain our focus on preparing the next-generation leaders of our country. GYAN aims at connecting the future leaders across the world to India and build on a leadership committed to achieving the aspirations of a sustainable and prosperous humanity.
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