Why Nations Should Pursue “Soft” Power

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India is fast becoming a superpower, says Shashi Tharoor — not just through trade and politics, but through “soft” power, its ability to share its culture with the world through food, music, technology, Bollywood. He argues that in the long run it’s not the size of the army that matters as much as a country’s ability to influence the world’s hearts and minds.

Shashi Tharoor

In May 2009, Shashi Tharoor was elected to Parliament, representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala. For 10 months, he also served as Minister for External Affairs, charged with helping India engage with the world. Follow him on Twitter, @shashitharoor, or his YouTube channel, to get a look in at his whirlwind life of service. Before entering politics, Tharoor spent almost three decades with the UN as a refugee worker and peace-keeper, working as a senior adviser to the Secretary-General. Meanwhile, he maintained a parallel career as a writer, producing three novels, a biography of Nehru and several collections of essays on literature and global affairs (plus hundreds of articles for magazines and journals). He was the UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information under Kofi Annan, and was India's candidate in 2006 for the post of Secretary-General. He left the UN in 2007. His latest book is Shadows Across the Playing Field: 60 Years of India-Pakistan Cricket, written with former Pakistan foreign secretary (and cricket legend) Shaharyar Khan.

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