Soft power is the gift of nations to form the preferences and impact the conduct of other states through charm and magnetism as opposed to strong intimidation. It signifies one of the agendas through which a country can comprehend and guide its role in the international order.
Against this backdrop, The Diplomatist in association with BLS International hosted an international Conference on Cultural Exchange between India and Europe on 19th October at Le Meridien, New Delhi.
The conference saw the participation of over 40 delegates, where speakers shared their views on several themes including public diplomacy, spirituality, language, literature, yoga, cinema, Ayurveda, cuisine, performing arts, art craft and design, education, tourism, and museums.
Dignitaries present at the conference were Amb K.V. Rajan, Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, who talked about soft power cultures for both regions; H.E. Mr. Reuben Gauci, High Commissioner of Malta to India agreed with the soft power culture to build common relations to increase people contact; Mr Matthias Radosztics, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Austria in India, talked about offering scholarships to Indian students; Mr. Miloš Prislan, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Slovenia in India offered sports assistance.
A video message was shared by H.E. Mr Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark to India as he couldn’t attend the event.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how we think about our economies and our societies. The nations of the world were put out to the test. A country’s soft power is, perhaps, more important than ever,” said the Chief Guest, Shri Dinesh Patnaik, Director-General, ICCR.
Shri Dinesh Patnaik in his address said that the pandemic posed serious challenges for human well-being. Countries must rely on culture as soft power’s most influential carriers and proactively engage advanced and forward-looking individuals, institutions and industries.
Today, the Indian cultural presence abroad is deep. We can very well see the reputation of Indian festivals, Bollywood, cuisines, performing arts, yoga, traditional medicines or languages. It is important to note that government programmes have played an important role in this.
He encouraged the youth of India to learn foreign languages that can also open doors and broaden one’s horizon. “By learning a new language, we just don’t get access to read an additional set of symbols, we also gain access to a new world. A language is a key to make yourself acquainted with a different society; it is a lens with which we can see the culture of a group of people.”
Mr Varindra Sewak, Director, BLS International, in his address said that we as an outsourcing service provider for government and diplomatic missions worldwide, can help India and Europe to further foster cultural relations through our varied services like managing visa, passport, consular, government outsourcing, biometric, identity management, verification & attestation and other banking and financial services. The global reach of services allows us to meet an unparalleled range of our customer and client needs.
The speakers shared their candid ideas and assessment for further refining the relevant policy tools for continued collaboration between India and Europe.
The speakers profoundly appreciated BLS International – the partner organization for their support. Diplomats from 15 countries including Malta, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, Slovenia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, Korea, Burkina Faso, Serbia participated in the programme.