India has fallen nine places in the Global Soft Power Index 2021 due to the COVID-19 impact. India is currently ranked at 36, down from 27 in the 2020 report.
"India’s perceived difficulties in tackling the health repercussions and economic impact of the virus outweighed their moderately positive perceptions in the Culture & Heritage pillar," said the report by brand Finance, an independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy.
In addition, the report said that the effects of social media is also dragging India’s reputation the wrong way.
Along with India, the virus outbreak has impacted the ranking of the US.
"Between a turbulent election campaign and a haphazard COVID-19 response, the nation (US) has lost its position as the world’s soft power superpower, falling to 6th position," the report said.
Taking the top position in the 2021 rankings is Germany. The report noted that Angela Merkel’s (chancellor of Germany) response to the COVID-19 pandemic epitomises her renowned credibility. A scientist by training, Merkel’s response was solely data-driven, and her methodical approach was viewed as a relative success on the global stage.
Coming back to India, while poor perceptions of the India’s handling of COVID-19 has led to drop in ranking in the Global Soft Power Index, it shows promise when it comes to being a country that is easy to do business with.
India ranks 10th in perceptions of nations who are easy to do business with. Plus, India comes third in the Future Growth Potential metric which displays public confidence in India’ status as a centre for talent and economic growth.
"In the post-pandemic economy, India being ranked 10th overall in easy to do business with is a welcome accolade – well supported by the billions of dollars of investments from Facebook, Amazon, and Google in the retail, telecoms, EdTech, and IT sectors," the report said.The Global Soft Power Index 2021 also highlights the strengths of India in
the country being influential in arts and entertainment, a great place to visit, and a strong performance in the Culture & Heritage metric.The report also points out that one of India’s most underrated
contributions is holistic healing. "From Ayurveda and mental wellness to cutting edge medical and surgical capabilities, these are areas that lack recognition on a global scale."According to the report, India’s rising economic profile has led to the rise of new soft power resources. India’s foreign assistance to other developing countries, India’s role in humanitarian and disaster relief operations, and the attraction of India as a higher education hub for developing countries in Asia and Africa are the emerging new soft power resources, the report pointed out.