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...

In our daily use of the cell phone, the World Wide Web, and Google's search we should recall that basic research is the springboard of their development, and, as importantly, American influence in the world is spread largely through its "soft" power of science and technology, according to a Pew Research poll.

At the same time, American influence in the world is bolstered largely through its "soft" power, and science and technology is an essential force of this influence, according to the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project poll.

Science has played an increasingly important — if at times ambiguous — role in sport. Some contributions, such as the development of performance-enhancing drugs, fall squarely into the negative category. Conversely, where adequate funds are made available for local capacity building both science and sport can make important contributions to international development.