In today’s world politics the battle for supremacy in the political front as a super power for many countries has intensified and every country is on a high gear to prove its relevance on the global front. This has led to development of nuclear weapons, seeking influence through Aid and military supremacy to mention but a few. All this are the expeditions of world leaders from several countries around the world. Traditionally United States has been a superpower and the remaining countries in Europe and Asia have been making great strides towards achieving this position. The means which they have been employing range from influence in technology, warfare and the world’s economy. This draws us to the question what makes a country a world leader? Is it population, military strength, or economic development?
Soft power is the ability of influencing other people or nations without payment and coercion but attraction using their culture, history ideas, music and other activities in order to become popular with citizens of that country. Indians have used the famous Bollywood movies in order to gain influence on other countries and people which has led to their economic prosperity. The superstars are adorable and people are eager to watch their programs ad movies. It also includes the food culture such as the Indian cuisine, the fashion for example Bhangra which is music from India (tolo.tv, 2008).
The rise of Indian English Literature is the cornerstone of Indian culture. It has showcased rare talent and Indian authors, poets, dramatists and novelists have used this avenue to contribute to world literature since pre- independence era. These have led to Indian English Writers to feature on the best- seller list and are receiving accolades. Examples of these writers are Anand, R.K. Narayan, Anita Desai and many more. They have contributed largely to the development of Indian Culture (IndianEnglishLiterature.com, 2006).
India has made a steady progress to the much desired positions of world leaders. It has gained military strength by having the world’s fourth largest Army and nuclear weapons, it is slated to become the world’s most populous country come the year 2034 and it boasts an undisputed position of fifth world’s largest economy in terms of purchasing power. This is true despite most of its population being from the low social class. It is impossible to argue that these are not indicators used to judge a country’s global status but it is also worth noting the rise of other valuable heritage which is less tangible and very important in the 21st Century than any of the mentioned factors. It is India’s “soft power”. It has a great influence in the worlds as many people are evidently addicted to the Indian soap operas and movies, the greatest to mention being Slum Dog Millionaire which won accolades in the Oscar awards. Bollywood movies with superstars such as Amitabh Bachchan are an attraction to many viewers; Indian art, classical music and dance together with the work of Indian fashion designers have become a benchmark in the world’s entertainment and fashion Glitz not to forget the Indian cuisine that carries the day in many restaurants and Hotels. This is evident in England today; Indian curry houses employ more people than the iron and steel, coal and shipbuilding industries combined (Tharoor n.d).
Will Soft Power be important in the future? Soft Power is important now.
Soft power has gradually developed to become a very useful tool of winning support and will continue to bean important aspect as far as international relations is concerned.
India has registered a good pace in economic, political and military growth. This is attributed to many factors such as geographical factors which place India as the seventh largest nation by area and its position in the north of the Indian Ocean which is the harbor for a lot of Eurasian sea trade routes.
The demographic factors which position India as the worlds second largest populous country because of it high birth rate and has approximately sixty percent of its population below age of thirty compared to other aging nations and its global Diaspora coming in at thirty five million distributed across the globe.
The political factors rate India as the largest democratic republic three times bigger than the next largest which is the United States. India being a democracy has improved its relations with other democratic nations and improving ties with majority of the western world. As a result is foreign relations with present world powers like the European union, United States, Russia and Japan and Israel and it has steadily improved relations with China in the last few years. These developments have been on the backbone of India’s role in international politics in the past specifically India being the founding members of the Non Aligned movement and many other political developments during the Cold war. The economic factors are also influential in this aspect as India boasts of the fourth largest economy in terms of real GDP following United States, China and Japan.
It is also the second fastest growing economy in the world averaging an annual growth rate of 7.1 percent. This is supported by the internal factors such as tourism, mass transit system, energy, science and technology.
Militarily it is the second largest in the World and has a total of 2,4114,700 soldiers both in the Indian Armed Forces and the Indian Paramilitary Forces. This becomes a pivot argument on the emergence of India as a super power as much as we acknowledge the role of “Soft Power” in its growth to this status (allexperts, 2010).