Soft power can make us a global leader: Shashi Tharoor
- Sreesanth, Jiju Janardhan lived in independently booked rooms: Cops
- India to convey concerns over Ladakh incursion to Chinese Premier
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Maxwell falls early in stiff run-chase
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
- Rajapaksa slams Tamil diaspora for lack of support in reconciliation process
India's soft power remains its biggest strength in being a global leader but strict visa rules has dented the country's image abroad, writes former union minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor in his new book.
"Today's India truly enjoys soft power, and that may well be the most valuable way in which it can offer leadership to the twenty-first-century world," says Tharoor in 'Pax Indica' which discusses India's international relationships.
Observing that soft power has grown naturally on the country's soil, he says India benefits from the future and the past -- from the international appeal of its traditional practices (from Ayurveda to yoga, both accelerating in popularity across the globe) and the transformed image of the country created by its thriving diaspora.
According to the Congress MP, who switched over to politics in 2009 from being a top diplomat in the United Nations, India has however not been able to fully leverage its soft power because of its "inability" to exploit its own democratic traditions of freedom.
"India's inability to promote and leverage its soft power in the world will receive a major boost only if and when the country's visa policy is thoroughly re-examined and, ideally, revised," the best-selling author of books like 'The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone' argues.
Visa processes, already time-consuming, unnecessarily demanding and expensive, have become far more cumbersome as a result of the government's reaction to 26/11 Mumbai attacks, he observes.
"If soft power is about making your country attractive to others, the Indian bureaucracy seems determined to do everything in its power to achieve the opposite effect, in the way in which it treats foreigners wishing to travel to or reside in India," Tharoor says.
Published by Penguin, the book cites various examples to prove that India's soft power is not depended on any official government policy but is rather an unplanned by-product of the normal emanations of the Indian culture.
- Destitute, orphan students outclass rest in Andhra Class 10 exams
- To re-energise ties, PM wants to visit US, waits for confirmation
- NIA court says no terror link, frees 'Hizbul militant' Liyaqat on bail
- CBI arrests its coal allotments investigator on bribery charge
- ‘Cricketer-bookie Amit may have used Jiju to reach Sree’
- BCCI chief N Srinivasan says police must prove spot-fixing allegations