Strategic Influence of Soft Power: Inferences for India from Chinese Engagement of South and Southeast Asia

This study proceeds on the assumption that both India and China are keen on maintaining peace and stability in their respective neighbourhoods. A benign external environment is a critical driver of their respective economic growths, and consequently regional and global strategic influences. Soft power plays a key role in this regard and is increasingly being deployed as a strategic tool by major powers of the world, including China and India. The paper researches China‘s projections of soft power and employment of attendant tools in South and Southeast Asia. and tries to draw relevant inferences for India‘s soft power applications in South Asia. Quantitative and qualitative dimensions of Chinese soft power in the region are analyzed with respect to public diplomacy as well as economic assistance.