01 May 2012
India designs its own image as global power
India's image has changed dramatically in the last decade from an aid recipient nation to a global power. The shift in this image is not merely a result of economic growth figures alone – it has resulted from a carefully managed "image campaign" that the Indian government has invested in. New research by Ravinder Kaur from the University of Copenhagen shows the processes through which a brand new identity for the Indian nation is manufactured. On 2 May, a large international conference in Copenhagen spotlights Asia.
Brand India is the name of the organisation that since the late 1990's has been tasked with convincing international corporations and heads of state that they should invest in new, modern India. In return for their investment, they get, among other things, access to cheap, well-educated labour.
"The branding campaigns produce seductive images of 'new' India: In the beginning the ads placed traditional Indian motifs together with images of mobile phones, computers, and motor ways to show the investors how India has developed," says Ravinder Kaur, who is director of Centre of Global South-Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen.