Unrealised Potential: India’s ‘Soft Power’ Ambition in Asia

This paper makes the argument that India’s enormous ‘soft power’ potential in Asia is based on the fact that a rising India (unlike China) complements rather than challenges the preferred strategic, cultural and normative regional order.

The paper also argues that India’s existing ‘soft power’ is weak and continues to fall short of its potential for two main reasons. First, New Delhi has long neglected ‘soft power’ as a tool of statecraft.’ Second, it is doubtful that ‘soft power’ in any meaningful (i.e. instrumental) sense can exist without formidable ‘hard power’ resources. India’s ‘soft power’ credentials are undermined by lingering doubts as to whether the country can continue to rise.