Soft Power Diplomacy: India’s Strategic Influence in the United States

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Yoga, Peacekeeping, and Diaspora Engagement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the United States has highlighted the significance of “soft power” in international relations. Beyond bilateral meetings and technology deals, India has astutely leveraged its cultural and social assets to enhance its influence and connect with the global community.

During his participation in the 9th International Yoga Day at the United Nations, Modi deftly linked yoga to India’s unwavering commitment to global peace and stability. He paid tribute at the UN Peacekeepers memorial, underscoring India’s role as the largest troop-contributing nation to UN peacekeeping operations.

Skill Development and STEM Talent

Recognizing the vast network of Indian diaspora in the United States, Modi emphasized the importance of collaboration and partnership. At an event with First Lady Jill Biden, he showcased India’s initiatives in skill development and innovation. This aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on attracting and retaining global STEM talent.

The US has embarked on a joint task force with leading Indian universities to expand research and higher education partnerships. This initiative aims to enhance the flow of Indian talent into the United States, a strategic advantage for both nations.

STEM Talent and National Security

As observed in the administration’s National Security Strategy, the US recognizes the integral role of global STEM talent in its economic and security interests. The increasing influx of Indian students, particularly in STEM fields, has played a crucial role in mitigating the impact of restrictions on Chinese students.

Diaspora Engagement and Outreach

Modi’s visit has extended beyond traditional diplomatic encounters, including interactions with leading experts, academics, and cultural figures. This personalized approach fosters deeper connections and amplifies India’s influence within intellectual and cultural circles in the United States.

In line with his previous visit in 2014, Modi will conclude his current tour by addressing the diaspora at the Ronald Reagan Center. This gesture signifies the importance of the Indian-American community as a bridge between the two nations.

Author: Dr. Srinath Raghavan
Affiliation: Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of any organization or entity.

Credit and Rights: OMG I Yoga

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