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How WCT20 Can Help Boost Trade

By T N C Rajagopalan
June 17, 2024 12:52 IST
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Global consumer preferences can be influenced through music, films, literature, yoga and sports because they create interest and a sense of familiarity that can help our businesses to access foreign markets, suggests T N C Rajagopalan.

IMAGE: Team India at a reception hosted by the consulate general of India, in New York, June 11, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

India's soft power is set to go up a notch or two with the T20 cricket World Cup being held this month.

In turn, that can help trade and investment.

Soft power is the ability to connect with others through culture and moral authority that can help influence their attitudes, and over a period of time their behaviour to get the desired outcomes.

It is a matter of building trust and establishing a positive image and reputation. Sports can play as powerful a role as culture in doing so.

During the freedom movement, the non-violent protests by Mahatma Gandhi and millions of his followers caught the attention of the world in a positive way.

Our policy of non-alignment and principles of peaceful co-existence at the height of the Cold War also gained a lot of respect during the initial years of independent India.

Of late, yoga is being popularised in all parts of the world.

Our software professionals and people settled abroad have vastly enhanced our image.

Our film songs, Raj Kapur's Awara and other movies in Soviet Union, the films of Amitabh Bachhan and Shah Rukh Khan in West Asia, Rajnikant's Padayappa and other movies in South East Asia and Japan, and Aamir Khan's Dangal in China gained enormous popularity and created plenty of goodwill for India.

Widely respected cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli have generated enough positive vibes towards India that our diplomats have been able to build on.

Till recently, only Britain and its erstwhile colonies played the game.

However, the result oriented T20 format that lasts for only about three-and-a-half hours and played in the evening hours has got more countries interested.

The WCT20 this year is an important event because 20 countries are participating in the tournament and for the first time 16 matches, including the high profile India-Pakistan match, were played in the United States.

It is a great opportunity to improve the connections with the people in the richest country of the world and Canada.

Cricket is included as one of the sports in the 2028 Olympics to be held at Los Angeles.

The spread of the T20 format has increased the opportunities for our franchises, cricketers, coaches, umpires, commentators, support staff and curators who prepare the pitches.

With a strong positive image among the people in various countries, it is easier to attract foreign investment.

Cultural appeal coupled with political values such as respect for rule of law and human rights build trust, which is important for investors.

Global consumer preferences also can be influenced through music, films, literature, yoga and sports because they create interest and a sense of familiarity that can help our businesses to access foreign markets.

IMAGE: The consulate general of India in New York welcomes Team India at the reception hosted in New York. Photograph: Kind courtesy Consulate General of India, New York/X

Personal connections through educational exchange programmes, cultural interactions, sporting links and travel also help develop a favourable view of the country.

Soft power through culture, sports, yoga etc, however, can go only so far.

Stability of economic policies, respect for rule of law and human rights, responsible policies towards sustainability and environment, a credible judicial system, a well-educated and skilled manpower and a favourable perception of fair play by the Executive etc are also important factors that influence businesses in various countries in a positive way.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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T N C Rajagopalan
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