SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF SOFT POWER DIPLOMACY: A QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF AFGHANS’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT INDIA

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Mohammad Reyaz
Sabir Ahamed

Abstract

Before the Taliban came back to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, India and Afghanistan had cordial bilateral relations and were often described as great friends. Since 2002, India had helped build several infrastructure projects as part of its promised development assistance program of over $2 billion (later increased to $3 billion). Considering India’s investments in Afghanistan, the goodwill it enjoyed among common Afghans was understandable. However, it would be wrong to imply that these unique, multifaceted bilateral relations between the two countries were simply due to India's helping hand. This research paper is one of its kind attempt to explain the perceptions Afghans had about India based on the field survey done in Afghanistan in 2019. Using responses of over 321 Afghan participants, the paper attempts to quantitatively analyze the goodwill and positive vibes that India enticed among Afghans. However, many Afghans felt that India did not do enough during the crisis in August 2021. Based on the survey and the general perceptions of Afghans in the aftermath of the return of the Taliban, this paper argues that the soft power investments in Afghanistan helped India in its nation-branding, making it attractive and creating goodwill. However, New Delhi lacked the will to act smartly and hence did not get the desired strategic influences due to ‘soft power behavior’.           

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How to Cite
Reyaz, M. ., & Ahamed, S. . (2022). SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF SOFT POWER DIPLOMACY: A QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF AFGHANS’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT INDIA. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs, 8(2), 150-176. https://doi.org/10.47305/JLIA2282150r
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Author Biographies

Mohammad Reyaz, Aliah University, India

Mohammad Reyaz is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. He mainly teaches courses related to Journalism. A former Journalist, Reyaz continues to contribute articles in different media, including The Wire, DailyO, etc. His articles have also been published in DNA, The Hoot, Al Jazeera, TwoCircles.net, etc. Reyaz has done PhD in International Studies from MMA Jauhar Academy of International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia. His Thesis was on 'Civil Society and the Role of Media in Central Asia'.

Sabir Ahamed, Pratichi Institute, India

Sabir Ahamed’s professional brief is to visualize possible research ventures in sync with Pratichi’s core interests, conduct effective research planning, supervise the implementation of research activities and manage project finances. However, this senior social researcher-cum-activist does considerably more for the organization. His interests include the socio-economic status of Muslims in India, child protection, education, and transparency as well as accountability in governance. He is adept at interpreting official statistics and trained in data analysis software. He played a leading role in producing the report on the Muslim population of West Bengal – Paschimbange Musalman: Ekti Parikrama and the volume – Caring Children: Essays on the Status of Children in West Bengal. His op-ed articles on various development issues have appeared regularly in reputed regional and English dailies over the last ten years.