Soft Power Brief – (January – March 2018)

Foreign Policy Brief: Update on Bharat’s Soft Power

Jan – Mar 2018

As global affairs continue to be defined by security concerns, geopolitical interests and people’s aspirations, India’s path of Panchamrit or the five principles – samman (respect), samvad (dialogue),samriddhi (prosperity), sanskriti evam sabhyata (culture and civilizational links) and surakhsa(security),  provides a unique approach in shaping the geopolitical narrative. This policy brief highlights the manifestation of these principles, particularly emphasizing on the former four in India’s conduct of diplomacy. This edition’s prime focus is Asia and Indo-Pacific.

Foreign Policy Updates:

1. Air India makes History by flying over Saudi skies to reach Tel Aviv
On March 22nd , 2018, Air India made its historic journey from New Delhi to Tel Aviv by flying over Saudi Arabia and thus reducing the travel time substantially. This is historic success for India’s strategic interests as well as of Israel and Saudi Arabia, considering the unneighbourly relations between the latter two countries. This is symbolic of the strengthening relations between India and Israel and the opening of economies on both sides for greater economic and cultural exchanges.
For more information: Business Line

2. Smart Power at Play
Indian PM Narendra Modi & French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the International Solar Alliance in March 2018. A brainchild of PM Modi, ISA  is open to over 120 countries having immense solar-energy potential. As India’s soft power tool, ISA has attracted 60 signatories with shared goals of attaining sustainability, thus serving as a platform for achieving strategic interests & facilitating knowledge transfers. Harnessing the most abundant natural resource, India has optimally translated its energy needs into a soft power potential.
For more information: The Pioneer


3.  Visit to Palestine Conveys a Strong Message
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Palestine in February which reflected “History in the making,” as the MEA put it. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbhas conferred PM Modi with Palestine’s highest honour- the Grand Collar Honour for his “wise leadership”. This was reflective of India’s historic relations with Palestine and also the role India can play in bringing peace and conflict resolution not just between Israel and Palestine but the region as a whole.
For more information: The Asian Age


4. Abu Dhabi to build first Hindu temple
Remarking it as a symbol of amity, PM Modi announced the construction of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabhi. The agreements signed between the two leaders highlighted strong trade relations between the two, the strategic concerns over oil and defense and shared values of pluralism. The Indian aid towards building schools and hospitals in UAE are a part of significant measures to ensure fulfillment of the aspirations of both Emiratis and nearly 3.3 million Indians.
For more information: The National


5. Strengthening the Indo-Oman Strategic Relations
PM Modi’s visit to Oman resulted in India securing the Port of Duqm for security and trade purposes. A strategic move, Oman has rich oil reserves and serves as a crucial entry point for Eastern African & West Asian region. The visit to a 125-year old Shiva temple, and to the largest mosque in Oman was indicative of the close relations between the people of both India & Oman, the role of India in building Oman & the acknowledgement of a diaspora of over 800,000.
For more information: Sanskriti Magazine


6. The first-ever visit from Iran to India
President Hassan Rouhani became the first Iranian leader to visit India. The visit entailed signing of various agreements and discussing the geopolitical interests of both the parties. Drawing on the historical links between the countries, President Rouhani gifted PM Modi a Farsi-translation of Panchtantra and the Mahabharat. In his address to the Muslim community in Hyderabad, President Rouhani remarked at India’s successful experience of peacefully co-existing with different ethnicities and religious communities.
For more information: Tehran Times

Opinion by Change-AgentsWhile people-to-people relations remain at the core of public diplomacy and building lasting relations, the prevailing geopolitical environment requires delicate balancing by India especially as it rises at the global stage. As India rises, India’s foreign policy holds tremendous possibilities for its people and the world.

The two articles written by change-agents at Vision India Foundation highlight India’s strengths and the prospects of becoming a global power and giving a vision to not just itself but to the world.

  1. Envisioning India’s Future by Shyam Krishnakumar and Arunima Gupta
  2. How India Must Take The Grand Alliance For Solar Power Forward by Ravi Sankar Varma Nadimpalli

Global Young Achiever’s Network

We at Vision India Foundation are making concerted efforts in securing and strengthening India’s foreign policy interests through long-term measures. Our programme- Global Young Achievers Network (GYAN) is aimed at identifying and grooming motivated change-makers from around the globe as dynamic next-generation leaders.
With this motivation, we have successfully organized the following events- Young Diplomats Conclave, 2017 and International Students Retreat 2018 and World Governance Expedition 2016  & 2017.

Young Diplomats Conclave, November 2017

The Young Diplomats Conclave: India Unbound, created a unique platform for young officers working at Delhi’s diplomatic enclave to enhance their understanding of India and create lasting relations. Twenty diplomats from over fifteen countries with an international administrative training participated in the day-long event organized at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi. The Conclave highlighted inter alia India’s cultural traditions, governance mechanisms and journalism as closely intertwined in its foreign policy approach. The Young Diplomats Conclave was a significant move to bring international diplomats closer to India, which would enable them to execute their tasks with a better understanding of the country – India and its people.
Know more: Young Diplomats Conclave

World Governance Expedition

World Governance Expedition is a week long experiential learning program in public policy and governance of Vision India Foundation. It invites promising and future leaders to study the best practices in good governance in different countries of the world. The delegation meets various stakeholders of policy formulation, delivery and evaluation to understand how the country deals with policy and governance. Having studied the various institutions and mechanisms of governance of the United States of America (2016) and the United Kingdom (2017), this year World Governance Expedition will be organized in Israel.
Know more at: World Governance Expedition

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.