Joseph S Nye, American political scientist, mooted the concept of ‘soft power’ as a means of gaining ascendancy in the world. Military and economy give a country its hard power. Soft power is its ability to persuade other countries to want what it wants them to want.
Mr Modi is getting the support of many countries against Pakistan using persuasive tactics as well as realpolitik. He is relying more on soft power and rightly so. No one but perverted minds would want a war especially between India and Pakistan because such a war is most likely to escalate into a world war.
Soft power can be effective only when it rests solidly on the foundation of substantial hard power. It is also related to culture and ideology. The Western civilisation spread rapidly across the world because it was firmly established on a secure hard power foundation. America was a practical El Dorado.
Russia’s communism crumpled when its hard power hit the dust. Soft power becomes impotent without the material backing of hard power. No culture, no ideology can survive without that simple, practical and material back-up of the hard power.
India is able to get at least the support of some countries against Pakistan because of its fairly good hard power. Pakistan cannot challenge India at the same level because its hard power is much inferior. And its soft power is backed not by the appropriate hard power but by criminal minds that call themselves religious people. It is quite a different matter that the line which divides religion and criminality is very thin. Have you ever wondered why the greatest saints were the foulest sinners before their conversion?
I think Mr Modi is leading India in the right direction as far as the Pak threat is concerned.
|Source: Global Hunger Index|
However, Mr Modi should not forget that India has serious internal issues. Hunger is one. The Global Hunger Index puts India below Mali, Malawi, Uganda and even Vietnam. The Prime Minister should not ignore the ignominious conditions prevailing within the country while he is dealing with the nefarious neighbour.
Mr Modi declared in Feb this year that “the total revenue loss from incentives to corporate tax payers was over Rs 62,000 crore.” Why should we keep on feeding the rich like this? Why not make the rich care for the poor? Why not make the Ambanis and Adanis sponsor some starving villages in the country? We can honour them with Bharat Ratna or some such award for their humanitarian services later? I hope Mr Modi will use his “soft power” for such “charity at home.”