Saturday, May 14, 2016

Public diplomacy & Pakistan

Suman Zehra,

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In the realm of international relations, the public diplomacy or people’s diplomacy, broadly speaking, refers to a well thought-out way of interaction and communication with foreign publics to establish a dialogue designed to inform and influence. The world is global village where, with the spread of democracy, has been created a new environment in the international system to win hearts and minds of people by governments. This is what public diplomacy does by trying to influence foreign nationals and the public with values, policies and actions of their governments to be supported. Public diplomacy can be defined as the efforts of one nation to influence public or elites of the next nation for the purpose of using foreign policy to achieve its targets and cherished goals. Governments always attempt to communicate with foreign public to export their ideas, its institutions and culture, as well as national goals and current policies. Like other countries, Pakistan should also take basic steps towards public diplomacy, as in the current geopolitical scenario, now it’s important part for development of any country. Pakistan needs the improvement of public diplomacy for various reasons, the foremost being the improvement in bilateral relations. Public diplomacy helps states to improve their bilateral relations. For improvement of bilateral relations it is important that the public should be positive, accommodating, tolerant, educated and have a clear perception about the principles of peaceful coexistence. Moreover, Pakistan needs to improve its soft power to get the attention of world towards itself because nowadays, soft power is as important as hard power. As John Nye designates a new concept in diplomacy, soft power, which, according to his definition, is ‘the ability to achieve the expected goals based on voluntary participation by allies, not by constraint’. Seduction is always more effective than coercion, and many values like democracy, human rights and individual opportunities are deeply attractive. Soft power of a country is created by multiple actors and organizations impacting on foreign public – artists, art galleries also broadcasters, NGOs, political parties, writers, musicians and creative associations, journalists and media groups, researchers and teachers, entrepreneurs and religious leaders. Pakistan needs to introduce its public diplomacy for several reasons including above all. Public diplomacy leads a nation towards development. Pakistan being a neighbour of India, needs more efforts to improve its soft power because India in the region, has stronger hard and soft power capabilities as compared to Pakistan.
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