The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that India must use its moral and cultural strength to influence public opinion for establishing a truly peaceful, just and more equitable world order.Inaugurating a three-day conference on Soft Power, here today, the Vice President said that soft power has been defined as the ability of nations to shape the preferences and influence the behavior of other nations through appeal and attraction as opposed to coercion. It includes the ability to affect others through persuasion, agenda-framing and positive attraction using culture, values, inherent knowledge, spirituality, wisdom and foreign policy, he added.The Vice President observed that Soft Power represents one of the newest frameworks through which India could leverage its role in the international order. He said India has, from time immemorial, been one of the foremost cultural forces in the world and was known as Vishwaguru as it provided cultural, spiritual and intellectual leadership.Calling for using India’s soft power to combat the biggest menace humanity was facing in the present times - terrorism, he said that public opinion world over should be built to isolate nations which shelter terrorists.Shri Naidu said India never had ambitions of hegemony or attacked anybody and always believed in peaceful co-existence with other nations in an equitable world order. India always believed in using soft power for the welfare and betterment of the entire humanity. Share and care is the core of Indian philosophy, he added.
Pointing out that soft power includes any element of a country which is attractive to other people, communities or countries, Shri Naidu cited the examples Indian cuisine, Yoga, films, sports, music and dance. Many nations the world over were practicing Yoga following the initiative taken by the Prime Minister, Shri Narenda Modi at the UN, he said.The Vice President said that the popularity of dosa and butter chicken was an example of India’s soft power. Also, several Indian actors like the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikanth and Priyanka Chopra are popular in several countries. Similar was the case with sports icons like Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Viswanathan Anand.Shri Naidu said that from Yoga to spirituality to Bollywood, from Bharatnatyam to Budhism, from cuisine to tourism, India has immense potential to use its soft power for expanding global outreach. He also suggested that the all-pervading presence of the internet should be used to project India’s soft power.The Member of Parliament and the President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Dr. Vinay Prabhakar Sahasrabuddhe, the Founder of Isha Foundation, Sadguru and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.