China uses its hard and soft powers effectively: Shashi Tharoor
With India taking great pride in its soft power, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said this alone can only go so far, and the real art lies in combining both the powers ? hard and soft ? effectively, something that the "Chinese are doing better".
New Delhi: With India taking great pride in its soft power, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said this alone can only go so far, and the real art lies in combining both the powers ? hard and soft ? effectively, something that the "Chinese are doing better".
"Hard power without soft power is bullying, but then soft power alone at the end of the day is a weak force. However, if you can combine both the powers effectively then you have that self vigor, and this is where the Chinese are doing a better job at the moment," Tharoor said at the launch of 'My Driver Tulong and Other Tall Tales from a Post Pol Pot Contemporary Cambodia' here at India Habitat Centre.
Referring to Cambodia, Sri lanka and neighboring countries, Tharoor argued that India should think of offering something different to these nations, because if it is about pumping in resources then "Indian investment cannot quite compare to the large investible surplus of China".
"I have said this in Parliament also that the biggest challenge with Indian foreign policy is not Pakistan, it is the Ministry of Finance. We have our prime ministers and foreign ministers going abroad and making commitments and then the ministry of finance cheerfully refusing to fulfil them when the time comes.
"And then India's aide history is littered with promises either not fulfilled or fulfilled very slowly. All of these things are in contrast with the way China goes about it and I think we cannot honestly think of competing meaningfully with China here," he said.
However, talking specifically about Cambodia, a former diplomat himself, Tharoor said India faces "serious challenges" in the country as unfortunately some of the well intentioned acts also didn't go according to the plan.
"We contributed a team to Cambodia for restoring parts of the Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu temple in the world, but were subsequently accused of having done such a bad job that we ended up damaging it.
"There is the Archaeological Survey of India doing one area and then year after French Archaeological Survey is there to do another area and they disparagingly say the Indians messed up the first one. Now, we do not know whether it is real or racism. But, the fact is that some of that is still lingering."
The book, a fictional travelogue of Cambodia, is written by the first time author and civil servant from Kerala, MP Joseph.