India-US bilateral relationship: Is it soft power at work or hard?

While it feels good to talk about yoga, the diaspora and other manifestations of soft power, the true driver of relations is hard power; soft power only contributes some garnish, writes T N Ninan

PM Modi, Joe Biden, Jill Biden

Photo: Bloomberg

T N Ninan

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Over and above the formal pomp and razzmatazz associated with the Prime Minister’s state visit to the US, it is worth asking: Which of the many events of the past few days were relatively more important? Narendra Modi leading yoga exercises at the UN; the General Electric-Hindustan Aeronautics partnership to make fighter aircraft engines; the new tune on India by some leading Western publications; or the giant orders for killer drones and commercial aircraft.

Broadly, these demonstrate either soft or hard power. As an example of the former, the influential Economist in its issue last week ran half a dozen stories in an India “package” -- including a cover on “indispensable” India as America’s “new best friend”, Mr Modi as the
Disclaimer: These are personal views of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or the Business Standard newspaper

First Published: Jun 23 2023 | 6:51 PM IST

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