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Art of using

soft power Shaking hands on Screen


CEC in association with FICCI, organised a round table interaction between the Chinese film delegates of SAPPRFT (State Administration of Radio, Press, Publication, Film and Television) and the Indian film makers at New Delhi. The objective was to discuss the problems that both the film industries face in each other’s country. The discussions centered on finding a solution in order to enhance and strengthen the film ties between the two countries. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Atul Shunglu, Asst. Secretary General, FICCI said that there are a lot of issues that need to be solved to pave the way for improved bi-lateral ties in the film industries’ of both the countries. The leader of the Chinese delegation, Mr. Zhang Hongsen, Director General, Film Bureau, SAPPRFT emphasized the role of Indian film industry in recent times. Indicating the potential of the massive growth of Sino-India film trade, he said that Indian movies such as ‘Three Idiots’ and ‘My Name is Khan’ have garnered a lot of attention in China. Supported by the fact that the Chinese film industry has produced 745 feature films, the 108-year old Chinese film industry has steadily climbed up to register a high growth trajectory over the past few years. He emphasized that if documentaries and animated films were to be included, the number would add up to a whopping 879. The Chinese film industry netted $2.8 billion in 2012 and this figure is expected to reach $3 billion by the end of this year; said Mr. Hongsen. Chinese film industry has grown at 50% every year. Talking about the Indian film industry, Ms Nidhi Maheshwari of KPMG (Media and Regulatory Practices) stated that it has achieved the size of $ 2 billion with the CAGR of 11.3% per year.

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Domestic films garnered 76% of the revenue from digital format films with its share increasing from 50% in 2010 to 80-90 % in 2012. There are 800-900 3D screens in India and 3D movies are received very well in India. Ms. Maheshwari stated that even less funded movies had shown a tremendous growth leading to a new growth story of Indian film industry. The growth has also been witnessed as the movies are being viewed by international crowd and stereotypes are being broken. The major reason behind the success of the Indian domestic films is that they are filled with the likes of Indian music and emotional drama. Mr. Sawahiq Siddiqui, president, ICEC, took forward the point that greater presence of Indian movies in China is possible if China could relax its regulation that limits the number of foreign movies screened in a year. “Keeping the growing India China cultural exchange in mind, there could be a provision to allow more Indian movies to be released in China,” he said. Mr. Samir Gupta, managing director, Cinema Capital said that both Indian and Chinese movie stars could make an impact on the success of films by working together. Mr. Han Sanping, Chairman of the China Film Group Corporation, stressed that a window should be opened for international movies in the domestic market. He further said that there is lack of publicity of Chinese movies in the Indian market. There were also talks about the role of Chinese consulates based in India to promote Chinese movies in India. The quota system has restricted the presence of Indian movies in China. Most of the quota of imported movies is used up by western movies causing roadblock for Indian movies. An urgent need was emphasized for collaboration in movie sector. ‰

for hard presence America has spread its cultural hegemony and valuess through its open media that has VWUDWHJLFDOO\EHQH¿WHG G America and contributed uted to the collapse of socialism. China too is using Soft power or ruanshili to achieve the desired goal with the least objection. Priyadarshini Rawal


he arena of World d politics has been wittnessing vibrant changges in the last two decades. es. For centuries, power has been een measured in terms of military itary and economic might, but the he realistic measurement of power ower by these resources seems to have ave completely ignored the powerr of attraction. In the international arena, power is shifting from the harder version to a softer one. In the nuclear age, modern and developing technology gy has made war more expensive and destructive and thus it is no longer an instrument for shaping the dos and don’ts n’ts of other September 2013 ƒ India-China Chronicle |29|


countries. Soft diplomacy appears to have become a replacement for traditional hard power and has started achieving outcomes using the power of attraction in a non-military and nonthreatening fashion. Power, at present, is associated with gaining as much as possible without losing anything significant. On this note, Soft power seems to be more efficient than hard power, as far as the use is concerned; a country has to take in human and economic losses, and however soft the power may be it is all about inspiring others through words, culture and people to people diplomacy. Cultural tourism is part of a central strategy for countries like India and China, and for the nations of Africa, South east Asia and the Arab nations. In this scenario of international politics, the direct investment of the Chinese in African media and increasing investments in infrastructure projects throughout Africa further indicates the emergence of a new phase of Chinese Soft diplomacy. Impact of soft diplomacy Naturally, all of this indicates that the concept of diplomacy itself is changing in the present context. Previously, diplomacy was more governmentoriented, but currently diplomacy absorbs non-state actors like the mass media, civil society and NGOs, which use negotiation techniques, culture, political values, and public relations. Soft diplomacy provides great and easy to adopt solutions to many problems. A state utilizes Soft diplomacy as an instrument to achieve soft/smart power and characterize itself as a co-optive power, or the power or ability to shape ‘what others want’. Co-optive power can be based on trade, aid, investment, empowerment strategies and public diplomacy, i.e., attractiveness of one’s culture and values which can manipulate the agenda of political choices. Global Public sentiment is an area in which ‘Soft diplomacy’ tends to utilize or manipulate to attract the other state and its people. Thus, the outcome of Soft diplomacy and global public sentiment is bidirectional in nature. A former French minister observed that the Americans are powerful because they can ‘inspire the dreams and

desires of many, due to the mastery of global images through film and television, and as a result a large number of students from other countries aspire to go to US for higher studies.’ It is often argued that China is following the US footsteps by understanding the values of Soft diplomacy which came out more clearly when America achieved nothing from Iraq invasion but lost its Soft power and goodwill. America’s Soft power strategy played a significant role in ending the Cold War. America has spread its cultural hegemony and values through its open media that has strategically benefited America and contributed to the collapse of socialism. However, with

A FORMER FRENCH MINISTER OBSERVED THAT THE AMERICANS ARE POWERFUL BECAUSE THEY CAN ‘INSPIRE THE DREAMS AND DESIRES OF MANY, DUE TO THE MASTERY OF GLOBAL IMAGES THROUGH FILMS AND TELEVISION, AND AS A RESULT A LARGE NUMBER OF STUDENTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES ASPIRE TO GO TO US FOR HIGHER STUDIES.’ the changing image of the US in West Asia, there are limitations for American influence in Iraq and Afghanistan and even in Turkey, which has refused to allow US ground forces to operate on its soil, and has further pushed Washington to change its preferred battle plan. These events are creating more opportunity for rising powers like India and China which are considered to be noninterfering in nature as compared to the other great powers like the US, Soviet Union or Great Britain. Harmony through ‘Panchsheel’ In India and China, the early traces of the knowledge of the power of attraction can be seen in past Buddhist exchanges between both countries. Prominent examples are the attractiveness of Nehru’s concept of non-alignment that turned into a movement with 120 countries as members and

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Zhou Enlai’s people-to-people diplomacy in China. The ‘Buddhist concept of “Panchsheel” is adopted in both Indian and Chinese diplomacy, and the same idea has also been incorporated in other South-East Asian countries in the form of “Pancasila”. In modern politics, this concept was first codified in the Indo-Chinese treaty of 1954. These “Five principles of peaceful coexistence” or “Panchseel” are defined as a mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression and mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. Equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence have always been an integral part of their foreign policy. In the present scenario, these two old Asian civilizations and rising powers: China and India are trying to follow the path of Soft power on the world stage through Soft diplomacy. China is a rapidly growing economy and claims to be a Soft power but due to its expanding military expansion, golden shield project, great firewall censorship of the internet and various other reasons Chinese Soft power is viewed with skepticism. China’s soft power in trade The Chinese are expanding their presence in Africa and West Asia by using culture and information to spread their influence in the region and counter what it views as unfair treatment in the global media. A paper on this topic by Yu-Shan Wu at the South African Institute of International Affairs, describes Soft power or ruanshili (in Chinese), as an important instrument to help a state achieve its most desired goal with the least objection. Soft power rests primarily on three resources: culture, political values/ideas, and foreign policies. China has pursued various foreign policies to support this cause. In West Asia, the bilateral trade on energy sector and other goods like manufactured goods, machinery and equipment, vehicles, foodstuffs, engineering and labor services are strengthening the relations between China and West Asian countries. The policy towards Africa is similar. China has provided infrastructure development in Africa and in recent weeks, there have been

two significant Chinese investments in South Africa – one with Top TV bought by the private company Star Times and secondly, Chinese have purchased shares within the Independent News and Media channels in Africa. Additionally China has also provided a good infrastructure in African regions. Africa and China have decided to jointly face their common enemy imperialism and China is already Africa’s largest trading partner. China and Africa “are good friends; good brothers and good partners” said Li Zhaoxing, a former foreign minister of Peoples Republic of China (PRC). With a series of island and territorial disputes, China has comparatively lesser acceptance as a Soft power in its neighborhood than India. Its motives have always been under scrutiny. Meanwhile, China is facing a bundle of political issues like corruption, environmental degradation and human rights abuses which prevent it from gaining a positive influence over the global public. Though China has contributed cheap consumer goods, schools, roads and infrastructure to Africa yetthe flip side is that China is only exporting raw materials and bringing its own labor forces into many African countries. This creates frustration within those African countries who are demanding more employment for their own citizens. African countries with investments coming from the whole world have greater bargaining power now, but such resource extraction makes the argument of neo-colonialism stronger. Thus, China loses the image of Soft power. The question that arises here is whether this is a Chinese style of colonization or Soft power diplomacy? Peaceful rise On the other hand, China is promulgating numerous diplomatic ideas like peaceful rise, harmonious world, peaceful development, responsible power, good neighbor policy, etc. and China is also strongly promoting its culture through Chinese media, Chinese food, martial arts etc. to support its claim as Soft power. Beijing consensus model best represents the concept of Soft diplomacy which is based on Chinese-style socialism and has gained

a great recognition in its neighboring countries. The focus of this model does not only lie in economic development but also calculates political values and social structure. Chinese diplomacy on climate change has accelerated China’s Soft power in light of the US walking out from the Kyoto protocol. The EU, Asia and other developing countries have openheartedly welcomed Chinese diplomacy on climate change. Politicians in democracies have to rely on a combination of inducement and attraction. If a leader represents the values that others want to follow, it will cost less to lead. Indian leaders are also beginning to think of higher investments in Soft power and public

THE WORLD OF POLITICS IS NOW A THREE-DIMENSIONAL CHESS GAME, WHERE ONE CAN WIN BY PLAYING BOTH VERTICALLY AND HORIZONTALLY, THAT IS, BY A MIX OF HARD AND SOFT POWER. THE MIX PROVIDES A STATE WITH A MUCH BETTER CHANCE OF WINNING THE GAME OF INFLUENCE-BUILDING. diplomacy in a striking manner. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is actively promoting cultural diplomacy through festivals in foreign cities. The Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) of MEA is available on social media like Twitter and Facebook. India Perspective’s magazine of the PDD is available in 17 languages across162 countries and the Division has been welcoming a large number of foreign delegations and journalists to India. Besides, the Division has also invested in opening ICCR chairs in different universities abroad, in order to encourage learning about Indian culture, concepts and languages. China has also been participating in academic and cultural exchanges with the world. Similar to ICCR chairs, China has also opened up its Confucius institutes across the world. The Chinese emphasis on “harmony” seems

more viable than the American model of “exporting democracy’’. On the Indian side, its culture, history, religion, tourism and film industry all are promoting its Soft diplomacy. Moreover the international community is showing a great interest in understanding Indian values. Building Influence Softly On the question of acceptability, the Indian Government has presented and accepted a more attractive model of democracy and multiculturalism as compared to the information-controlling Chinese state model. However, India still has to catch-up to China’s greater investments in Public diplomacy because it is needed to retain its position in global sphere. In the case of education,Beijing does a much better job of promoting Chinese culture and language to foreign students. Though India has started promoting and supporting education in Africa, the gap is still substantial. India is surely able to do more with its lesser global presence as the question concerns maintaining interest and further sustaining it. In a world, where influence can no longer be achieved on the basis of military power, it becomes a necessity for a state to convince others by attraction. Soft power is the solution to this constraint. In the present world of ours, politics has become a necessity to maintain a win-win situation to preserve goodwill and to continue cooperation with other states. The zero-sum game theory of economics is an out dated concept in international relations. The world politics is now a three-dimensional chess game, where one can win by playing both vertically and horizontally. This means that a mix of hard and Soft power provides a state with a much better chance of winning the game. It will be fascinating to study Indian efforts to develop Soft diplomacy and rise as a Soft power within the next decade. Moreover, it will also be interesting to study the efforts of China at developing its Soft diplomacy in order to achieve universal acceptance as a Soft power. ‰ The author is researcher at the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi

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