Soft Power : China Vs India – UPSC GS2

China’s has advantage over India in terms of hard power (economic power + military power) as well as soft power
What is soft power? 
Soft power, a tool of foreign policy, is a mix of cultural, policy and political influences based on power of attraction. It is the ability to persuade others in a peaceful means.
  • The word soft power was coined by Joseph Nye, the political scientist.
  • Soft power is the ability to persuade others in a peaceful means.
  • Soft-power theorists suggest that the ability to persuade rests on the power of attraction.
  • It consists of foreign policy, cultural and political influence.
  • Foreign policy influence comes from the legitimacy and morality of one’s dealings with other countries.
  • Cultural influence is based on others’ respect for one’s culture.
  • Political influence is how much others are inspired by one’s political values.
  • It is difficult to measure soft power.
How is China’s soft power more attractive than India’s Soft power?  
Soft power is difficult to measure. However, the Lowy Institute in Australia has produced various measures based on foreign policy influence, cultural influence, and political influence. Numbers based on the Lowy Institute survey show China’s soft power is more attractive than India:
  • In diplomatic influence, overall, India ranks sixth and China ranks first among 25 Asian powers.
  • On diplomatic networks, India nearly matches China in the number of regional embassies it has but is behind in the number of embassies worldwide (176 to 126).
  • In terms of multilateral power, India matches China in terms of regional memberships, but its contributions to the UN capital budget are less compared to Chinese contributions (11.7 per cent to 0.8 per cent of the total).
  • In surveys of foreign policy leadership, ambition, and effectiveness, China ranks first or fourth on four measures while India ranks between fourth and sixth in Asia.
  • In terms of cultural influence, India ranks in fourth place and China in second place in Asia.
  • In terms of cultural projection, India scores better on Google searches abroad of its newspapers and its television/radio broadcasts. It also exports more of its “cultural services.” Whereas China does better on several other indicators. For instance, India has only nine brands in the list of the top 500 global brands whereas China lists 73.
  • On the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, India has 37 while China has 53.
  • India also lags in Passport freedom Index. Chinese citizens can travel visa-free to 74 countries while Indians can travel only to 60 countries.
  • In terms of information flows, in 2016–17, India hosted a mere 24,000 Asian students in tertiary education institutions whereas China hosted 2,25,000.
  • In terms of tourist arrivals, in 2017 India received 5 million tourists from Asia whereas China received 41 million and ranked first among 25 Asian countries.
  • In terms of political influence, India ranked 12th and China ranked 10th.
  • In terms of political stability and absence of violence/terrorism”, India ranked 21st, and China ranked 15th.
  • Further, confidence on India’s regional ambitions, economic, military, and diplomatic capabilities, with Southeast Asia is very low according to the State of Southeast Asia Survey Reports

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