Science and technology diplomacy between China and South-East Asian (SEA) countries is expected to benefit both sides, according to a forthcoming OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report. Rising research and development (R&D) investment on both sides — as well as a common drive towards economic growth and industrialisation — increases the opportunities for improving collaboration, especially on science, innovation and education, the report says.

The European Patent Office is a great European success that should be seen not only as a centre for patent granting excellence, but also as a means of generating European soft power across the world. So says the office’s current president Benoît Battistelli.

When China embraced the world with its opening-up policy and extraordinary economic growth, the Awakening Dragon had embarked on a golden journey to transform itself, from being labor-intensive to being knowledge-intensive, from rising dependently on the growth of hard power to a full-blown renaissance of soft power, from the crude, cut-price "Made in China" to an imaginably refined, top-notch "Created in China".

As with many new things, a lot of foreign ministries were initially skeptical of ediplomacy. What did 140 character messages and social media have to do with serious diplomacy? There have now been more than enough social media infused international crises to silence those critics.

Just as how the US leads in technology, so too can China. Catching up with US GDP was no longer the only burning issue; China, it was said, needs to close the gap with the US on innovation. I agree, but some myths about innovation in China need to be dispelled.

Like Bollywood, ayurveda, yoga or curry, cultural design has the potential to be India's next unique soft power for the rest of the world. While everyone agrees that design, in today's context, plays a very important role in seamlessly integrating various factors like new technology, innovative materials and brand values, celebration of local cultural heritage is equally important.

September 28, 2012

The response to that Toyota in Tianjin and the Apple iPhone5 could not be more different. What links them, however, are the notion of "soft power" and the risks and rewards of being identified as one of a given nation's leading companies...