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Environmental Foreign Policy as a Soft Power Instrument: Cases of China and India

  • Karakir, Irem Askar
  • Published : 2018.06.30

Abstract

Joseph S. Nye defined soft power as the power of attraction to affect the behavior of other states through the use of non-coercive instruments including culture, political values and foreign policy. Over the last two decades, environmental issues have grown in importance on the international agenda and become critical components of states' foreign policy-making. This paper aims to analyze environmental foreign policy as a soft power instrument focusing on two major rising powers: China and India. Traditionally, China and India had been reluctant to make any commitments in the field. However, they have shown greater willingness to act in global environmental governance in the past decade. They started playing more active roles in global climate change negotiations and supported a number of initiatives. Their current rise in global environmental governance has even been praised by the international community as the Paris agreement case demonstrated. This study evaluates China's and India's recent efforts in global environmental governance with a focus on climate change negotiations linking their constructive position to their soft power potential. It is argued that environmental issues are used by these two states as foreign policy strategy to gain more influence in international politics. This study finds out that China's climate-related environmental diplomacy has been more ambitious than that of India and thus has been closer to fulfill its potential as a soft power asset.

Keywords

China;India;climate change;environmental foreign policy;soft power

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