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South Asia Satellite

Madhurjya Kotoky discusses the importance of India's new endeavor into space diplomacy.

According to a recently released report, India is among the top-10 most powerful countries in the world. This is a first-of-its-kind study of "national power" by leading strategic experts and scholars from the Foundation for National Security Research (FSNR) in New Delhi.

Blogs are gradually emerging as mainstream media in India. I previously mentioned in my own blog that the presence of a free press and recent proliferation of media outlets in India has relegated bloggers to the background, unlike in societies where there are limits to freedom of expression. This is true especially in the space of ‘issues’ where the ability of bloggers to influence public discourse in India seems to be limited by being ‘somewhat unnecessary’.

Last week, the American Center in New Delhi organized an interactive session for a young group of professionals and students from India with Ms. Heather Smith, President of the American non-profit, Rock the Vote. This was a unique opportunity for the participants to interact via digital video conferencing with Ms.

Two decades of economic liberalization ushered in significant changes to India’s business landscape. One important change has been the development of competitive capabilities of Indian companies and the increase in business, professional, and personal exchanges with global businesses, workforces, and ideas. This development has significant implications on India’s soft power projection.

Rarely has the Indian government discussed matters of foreign relations with its citizens. Foreign policy, for a long time in India, has remained a preserve of the elites. The only foreign policy issue that might have sparked an interest in the average Indian, is its nation’s relations with Pakistan. Furthermore, this interest might only be true for an Indian living in the North. An Indian living nearly 3,000 kilometers away from Pakistan in India’s northeast, with no historical experience, would have little interest in its country’s relationship with Pakistan.

India is one the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India recognizes 18 official regional languages in India with a developed script and literary tradition. In addition, there are nearly ‘1576 rationalized mother tongues’ or dialects as per the 1991 census of the Government of India. Linguistic diversity adds to the richness of Indian culture and every region of India has a highly developed literary tradition with excellent writers of national, and a few of international fame.

There has been a flurry of activity on the public diplomacy front in India recently. With bigger economic clout in the international stage, India now feels the need to be seen, heard and engaged. From international conferences to social media campaigns, the Public Diplomacy Division of the Government of India is in overdrive to shape a desired perception of India across the world.