Soft power of India in South Asia: The higher education imperative

Bhardwaj, Akhil (2023) Soft power of India in South Asia: The higher education imperative. Doctoral thesis, O.P Jindal Global University, Haryana,India.

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In modern times, higher education is gaining pace within knowledge societies in the developing world whereas it’s been always at the core of state’s preference in the first world. Higher Education finds a direct connect to the system of Soft Power generation through its value based eco-system which helps its stakeholders to make a difference for societal benefits. An effective higher education system of a country through its Institutions attracts the potential future leaders and global citizens from across nations with a direct exposure to a country’s culture, policies and its relative importance at a global level. This leads to a relative connect and creates a likelihood of a favourable environment for discussion about its national interests. The value system generated though diverse sources of soft power, higher education being one of the prominent one, advances a nation’s knowledge culture to benefit it at a global level. While countries in North America and Europe increasingly contend with the idea of knowledge societies having well established system of higher education and research, emerging countries such as China and India are found to be building their own capacities and staking claims for leadership in various ways. One of the important aspects of Chinese and Indian attempts towards developing an effective knowledge society for the holistic development of the two countries is to build a network of quality higher education Institutions through path breaking schemes and subsidiaries ultimately benefiting their Universities and Institutions to be globally benchmarked. The basic ideology behind these initiatives is the realisation of the fact that higher education has its own imperative place in leveraging the soft power of a nation towards its national interest. With its regional challenges of plenty, India steadily and slowly has been building its reputation and pedigree as a higher education hub for countries in South Asia through a diverse set of offering including scholarships, short term exchanges, capacity building initiatives, training programmes, promoting and projecting its universities & institutions for higher studies in South Asia to name a few. The policy framework of a nation in congruent to the productivity of its Universities and Institutions in terms of quality teaching and research outcomes defines and forms the cornerstone of the foundational structure of its knowledge society or economy recognised at a global platform. India have had a glorious past in the ancient times as one of the leaders in Higher Education which was lost subsequently and dried down during the vii colonial times. The higher education system of a nation is not confined to its scholarly output, sustenance and economic growth. It rather encapsulates the societal and cultural values, educational milieu, political structure and ideology, regional heterogeneity and outlook towards the global issues of a country. It also shapes the position of a nation to have a say in a geo-political environment at diverse fronts on a range of subjects. With its realisation, India has been stressing upon its higher education system from last few decades with reform at its structural framework and existing policies. The objective of the study intends to find out the correlation between India’s strategic initiatives and offerings in the higher education sector for countries in South Asia and India’s foreign policy, its nuances and diplomatic approach. India’s quest for addressing its nonexistence within the elite higher education institutions of the world in terms of global rankings, demands a longer duree investigation since there is not much focus on improving the gross enrolment ratio and the availability of higher education to a massive young population in India. India’s projection of its higher education profile in South Asia would be an interesting aspect to study with a view to understand the undercurrents and some purposeful hidden objectives towards pursuing its National Interests in the region. With countries like USA and UK exercising the Soft Power approach through their respective establishments like the American Centre and the British Council under cultural diplomacy with a wide range of diplomatic instruments attracting masses around the globe; their higher education supportive activities and projects under these establishments, for instance the Fulbright fellowship, United States India Educational Foundation (USIEF-with India), UK India Education Research Initiatives (UKIERI-with India) has also played a major role in creating a supportive environment favouring them in various countries. Through various fellowships, scholarships and research opportunities offered under these establishments, both USA & UK have been attracting masses in various countries as an intellectual and a knowledge hub. With India now adopting a similar strategy of exercising soft power through higher education as a subset of cultural diplomacy with i) its offering of Full Scholarships to South Asian and South East Asian Countries to study Undergraduate, Postgraduate and PhD programmes; ii) its capacity building initiatives in higher education in South Asia; iii) collaborative programmes in higher education in South Asia; and iv) enhancing its higher education profile by projecting its Universities & Institutions as a higher education hub for South Asian countries; there is a need and demand of deep investigation in analysing the effect of the aforesaid approach on India’s Soft Power and its projection in South Asia.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Social Sciences (General)
JGU School/Centre: Jindal School of International Affairs
Depositing User: Amees Mohammad
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2023 11:13
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 11:13


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