Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I read this really interesting piece in Hindustan Times regarding the Brazilian soap (telenovela) that is based on India. The writer mentions that it is "the strongest manifestation of India's appeal" and says that there is a growing interest and curiosity about everything 'Indian' in Brazil. The soap is called "Caminho das Índias" or Passage to India and is a real popular one on Brazilian TV. Read the article here : Made in Brazil.
There is also a website of the novela: http://caminhodasindias.globo.com/
Watch You Tube teaser :
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
This symbolism will definitely give India an image boost in the West. Kudos to South Block mandarins for working towards it with the French. I am just curious to know the chain of events that led to it. How was the idea arrived at? Who mooted it first and why? Nonetheless, it does India's public diplomacy a lot good. I think it was a good 'stunt' to showcase the friendship, the relevance of India and also display a professional Indian army that can match the professionalism of the forces of a P 5 state.
There's a meeting of minds between France & India on a lot of issues:
- Both support and strive to promote a multipolar world with both countries being one of the poles
- France has been a defence supplier for India (Mirages for example) and now maybe the Rafale
- The defence forces of both the countries share a healthy relationship and have participated in numerous joint exercises
- France was also quick to sign a bilateral nuclear deal post the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation agreement
- Both are stable democracies and France is supportive of India's candidacy for a permanent seat in the UN
Most Indian newspapers, including Hindustan Times and The Times of India reported that Manmohan Singh also became the first international leader to be invited to attend the parade at France (Sarkozy was the chief guest in India's republic day parade in 2008). However, it needs some verification. There were representatives from Cambodia and Germany too witnessing the parade. Nonetheless it was great honor for India indeed.
Monday, July 13, 2009
- Western observers routinely talk about the fact that China’s economic success has not been accompanied by significant political reforms and the single-party regime remains in force, even as the public sector is being rolled up.
- Taiwan's refusal to allow the path of the running of the Olympic torch through its territory.
- It's censorhip of information and the country was in news recently when it blocked Google for an hour.
- Its support for the government at Sudan. This was an issue that was raised prior to the Beijin Olympics in 2008.
- The contaminated pet food fiasco in North America last year which put into doubt the credibility & quality control in Chinese companies.
- Attacks on an oil installation in Ethiopia that killed 9 Chinese workers.
- The riots in Jharkhand in India between local laborers and workers of Sinosteel.
- It's abysmal human rights record and the Tibetan issue.
China, just few days ago, objected to financial aid from Asian Development Bank to Arunachal Pradesh in India disputing Arunachal's status as an Indian state. This was disapponting considering the recent efforts to build trust between the countries. This will also definitely not go down well with the Indian people who remain wary of the Chinese threat. Besides, China's support of Pakistan is well known. Does the Chinese establishment care about a charm offensive targeted towards Indians? Positive perception of China in India is crucial to ensure that conflict (be it political or military) doesn't disrupt the growth momentum of these Asian giants.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
- A country at peace with itself
- A secure place to live and conduct business in
- A country that has successfully managed to preserve its territorial integrity and will succeed in the future by successfully accomodating diversity and regional demands
- A stable democratic polity that 'listens' and is capable of ensuring liberty and prosperity for all
While these movements may or may not be results of genuine grievances, what goes without saying is that it affects India's standing in the world. We get to read in the news regularly about countries raising issues about India's human rights record in Kashmir, don't we? How can a country claim a larger role in international relations if it's own house is not in order? This is a message that might go out through the news media . Take for example the recent Maoist attacks in Lalgarh. It got space in media outlets all over the world, almost conjuring up an image of India as a 'disturbed' state:
Read the coverage in the following:
BBC World, Al Jazeera, Daily Times of Pakistan, Xinhua, Global Times -Chinese propaganda machine
Public Diplomacy initiatives should definitely need to measure the impact of such messages and also have active plans/crisis communications network in place to neutralise the impact of such messages. A strategic approach should also look at how India can get mileage of out such messages and explore possibilities to leverage it for geo-political advantage. The US, for example, successfully used 9/11 imagery and coverage to it's advantage and continues to do still.
It's interesting that there is a wikipedia page on Lalgarh conflict. Hope South Block Mandarins monitor information in the social media sphere regarding domestic developments as well.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
A friend of mine, publicist of one such education promotion agency, asked me over breakfast what can New Zealand possibly do to promote itself among Indian students. While I am not sure about the capabilities of NZTE and the resources they have to undertake a branding exercise, I think the following pointers might be useful:
- New Zealand is clubbed with Australia by Indians. There is a need to "de-link"/differentiate itself from Australia. NZ can provide a more enriching student experience given the great outdoors and being a relatively 'uncrowded' place.
- There is a perception that it's easier to get admissions in NZ compared to say US. This might result in bright students keeping away. This is potentially negative.
- US is considered by Indians the nerve centre of the world...it's 'happening'... while New Zealand is "Down Under." This is an image constraint and the truth needs to be told. Messages should focus on the "international nature" of the education.
- A media audit of newspapers in New Delhi showed that media exercises are limited to publicity for education fairs and trade shows. A media relations campaign that is sustained should be carried out to occupy mindshare among Indian students. At this moment I think they would be better off if they focus on nothing but a PR campaign.
- A media relations campaign should take account of the fact that, rarely there have been stories about successes from New Zealand education. Rutherford who split the atom was from Auckland University. I think very few Indians know it. There should aggressive demonstration of successes that New Zealand education has produced, and these should be primarily Indian examples. Not just testimonials but media stories.
I am curious about the country myself and look forward to visiting it someday. Had there been no cricketing ties I am sure Indians would have known absolutely nothing about the country.