A global power can be defined as one which has the capability to influence global governance and is necessary to ensure a world order. United States, Russia, U.K., China and some others may rightly be called as global powers for their strategic and politico-economic leverage. Historical evidence suggests that these powers have not been soft at all in their course to power struggle. Softness may be defined as the opposite of assertiveness and activeness in this power struggle. It is a term often used to define Indian foreign policy. But, such a simplistic and overarching labelling does not take into account the historical perspective; the geo-political and economic imperatives. Though softness may be valid in the global sense, it can not be so regionally – where India is a regional power in South and South-East Asia. To determine whether India can become a global power in owing to its softness: a historical evaluation of India’s regional rise; the inherent paradoxes; its position on the international political landscape coupled with a contemporary global evaluation would be necessary.
The numerous wars fought by India with its neighbours Pakistan and China speak for itself. India has actively defended its territorial integrity while maintaining a regional order. The 1971 war to liberate Bangladesh from Pakistan is a testament to this fact. India’s continous intervention in Maldives’ and Nepal’s polity to check the autocratic and monarchic elements is another testament. It has strived to secure and safeguard the rights of minorities in Sri Lanka through political and military intervention, But, simultaneously, its passivity in the Afghanistan war in the late 1970s may well be noted.
It is clear that India has a regional strategy and it is well placed in South Asia. But, its position has not been solely established based on political and military clout; economic clout also had a major role to play. Its softness or toughness in the