PM Modi Administration’s Engagement in Buddhist Cultural Diplomacy as A Key Policy of Outreach in Asean Countries

Tanushree Pabbi


At the onset of Modi government’s first tenure as the Prime Minister, Soft Power became one of the key components of the foreign policy and Strategy as the Cultural diplomacy became its key integrant. The Strategic dimension of Buddhism that was already being embedded into the soft power game by China was revived by Indian administration a decade ago. Buddhism as a religion strengthens core Asian belief and values, with 12 ASEAN countries having more than 50 percent Buddhists as their population. Over the past few years, Indian government has undertaken several diplomatic measures to boost Buddhist dimension with the ASEAN countries and translating spiritual might into economic weight and also to retrench an aggressively projecting China as the chief patron of Buddhism at a global scale. Sir Edwin Arnold, in his book The Light of Asia (1879), stated that Buddhism has influenced millions for over 26 centuries and the spatial dimension of its dominions extended “from Nepal and Ceylon over the whole Eastern Peninsula to China, Japan, Tibet, Central Asia, Siberia, and even Swedish Lapland.” Buddhism, undoubtedly, has become a prospective domain for collaboration between India and Buddhist ASEAN countries.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Buddhism, Soft power, Cultural diplomacy, ASEAN Countries Buddhism, Buddhism policies.


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