Scholarship diplomacy and India’s Neighbourhood First strategy


‘Scholarship diplomacy’ refers to a country’s diplomatic strategy of offering scholarships to and sponsoring the studies of overseas students to improve bilateral relations, promote academic exchange, or support the educational and academic development of the target country. Compared with traditional diplomacy, scholarship diplomacy is more effective in engaging foreign publics and is less confrontational. It is part of the trend of global education and is receiving increasing attention from academics and policymakers. Scholarship diplomacy aimed at neighbouring countries (Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, etc.) is an important component of contemporary India’s cultural diplomacy. The region-focused feature of Indian scholarship diplomacy is notable and deserves in-depth analysis. This paper regards India’s scholarship diplomacy as a strategy to counter China’s growing influence in South Asia and points out that this practice serves India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ strategy by 1) exporting its cultural values; 2) attracting foreign citizens and promoting people-to-people cultural exchange; 3) and strengthening geographical ties with South Asian countries. Ultimately, all of these activities serve India’s interests. This paper also discusses the practical and theoretical underpinnings of Indian scholarship diplomacy and lays a foundation for future research on the country’s cultural diplomacy.

Post description: 

  • Publication year: 2021
  • Content type: Journal article 
  • Form of cooperation: Scholarship
  • Cooperation context: Multilateral
  • Region (country): Afghanistan, South Asia, China
  • Sector: Education
  • Institution (publication): International Journal of Cultural Policy 
  • Written by: Song Tang 
  • Keywords: Scholarship Diplomacy, Cultural diplomacy, Neighborhood First strategy 
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