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Soft Power in China and India

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Submitted By blondie227
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Soft power refers to the ability of a nation to obtain outcomes that it desires through persuasion and more notably, attraction. Conversely, hard power refers to power obtained through coercion. Through various methods, India and China are two nations that have experienced an extreme increase in their position as soft powers.

China has provided an attractive model for many other nations by serving as proof that modernization and westernization are not synonymous. The nation’s relationship focused culture and their ability to remain focused solely on business relationships and stay segregated from the governmental practices of their international partners adds to the attractiveness for some nations. Additionally, Confucius Institutes located around the world contribute to linguistic, historical, and cultural awareness.

India also has a rich culture of which awareness is promoted through cultural centers around the world. It’s widespread influence can be depicted through the success of Indian cuisine, technology, Bollywood, and even yoga practices. India has transformed into a modernized democracy, attracting much attention through its large pool of English speaking workers in combination with its high-tech information technology abilities. These qualities have given rise to the expanding Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in India. This industry has allowed for the increase of India’s confidence in the global arena and has provided a starting point for further expansion and partnerships. Additionally, it has greatly contributed to India’s quickly growing economy.

Overall, there is something to be learned from watching the expansion of China and India as soft powers. Business and business practices throughout the world will experience the effects of this power through partnerships fostering cultural exchange and economic investments. Western countries should certainly take note.

Western countries should find the best methods through which to maintain a balance between their hard and soft powers. Fostering positive relationships and sharing cultural aspects with other nations can contribute to the strength of soft power. While hard power may have been beneficial in some aspects, it is essential to maintain a strong presence as a soft power nation to ensure positive relations, positively attract attention, and make others WANT to be involved with Western countries.

The relationships that China has formed in Africa will certainly have an effect on the nation. In exchange for resources and raw materials, China supplies labor and the promise of development and business. There have been numerous positive outcomes through China’s investments in Africa including restoring and expanding travel infrastructure, as well as building schools and hospitals.

On the other hand, much of the business and development doesn’t help African unemployment issues since China provides the labor. Also, some people question the benefit of things such as loans from China and how they are being appropriated (or misappropriated) by corrupt government officials. Unlike many other countries who have influenced or attempted to influence Africa, China maintains relations with “no strings attached”. The Chinese don’t concern themselves with the corruption or human rights issues that plague much of Africa; they maintain a strictly business relationship.

The expansion of Chinese cultural awareness in Africa contributes to China’s soft power in this location. An example of this can be seen in the small, Chinese-owned businesses that have formed throughout Africa. Additionally, the Confucius Institutes in Africa have a similar effect on such expansion. Ultimately, I believe that other countries will (and have already began to) take notice and attempt to exert influence in Africa as well. If done properly, this competition could prove to be beneficial for the African economy.

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