New Delhi is all decked up to host one of the most consequential geopolitical groupings – the G20 Summit, scheduled to be held in the Bharat Mandapam at the Pragati Maidan on 9 and 10 September. During this two-day summit, India will have the opportunity to showcase its rich culture, values, warm hospitality, soft power, vibrant atmosphere, delectable cuisines, and more to leaders and delegates from 40 countries, including the 20 member states that share India’s values.
For the next couple of weeks, India will shine brightly on the global stage, drawing attention from around the world. In the midst of this international spotlight, a recent Pew Research has found that most countries surveyed have a favourable view of India’s influence on global issues.
Notably, the Pew Research Centre conducted a survey of 30,861 people in 24 countries, including India, between 20 February to 22 May 2023.
The research, which surveyed 23 countries outside India, revealed that citizens in these nations hold a more favourable and positive view of India. According to the Pew Research Centre, approximately 46% of the people surveyed said that they have a favourable view of India. While 16% of respondents didn’t share an opinion, 34% of people said they shared an unfavourable view of India.
Strikingly, in Israel, India enjoys its highest level of favorability, with 71% of the population expressing a positive view of the country. Pertinently, India and Israel have lately formed a compact but effective grouping namely the I2U2 – a partnership among India, Israel, the U.S., and the United Arab Emirates.
Additionally, Israel primarily exports its arms to India, making it the leading destination for Israeli arms exports.
Apart from Israel, Kenya, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom have a very highly favourable view of India where approximately 60% of the respondents said that they have a favourable view of India. In fact, in Kenya and Nigeria, approximately a quarter of the people surveyed said that they have a very favourable view of India.
The majority of the respondents across 19 countries expressed that they believe India’s influence has grown substantively on the global stage or has remained somewhat the same. The 19-countries median of the respondents stood at 28% who believed that India is getting stronger in the geopolitical arena with only 13% stating the complete opposite. Nearly half of the respondents (48%) said that India’s influence experienced substantial growth, yet it has remained largely unchanged in recent years.
Positive views about India are complemented by the people’s confidence in the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The survey found that 37% of the respondents said that they have confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi can do the right thing regarding world affairs.
The majority of the respondents in Japan, Kenya, and Nigeria shared that they have confidence in Modi’s personal abilities and leadership. A whopping 60% majority of Kenyans shared that they have confidence in Modi to do the right thing regarding world affairs.
However, 40% of the respondents seemed to be tilted towards an institutional approach rather than personnel leadership in doing the right things on the global stage.
Further, there was a substantive number of respondents who did not share an opinion, while the respondents in Europe were not asked about the Indian leader.
In many countries, the confidence in PM Narendra Modi has virtually remained the same. For example – in Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea – confidence in Modi has remained largely unchanged since Pew first gathered data in these countries in 2015.
However, the survey has highlighted that India’s benevolent acts have not done their intended impact and have not generated goodwill as one would have expected considering the special outreach programs like Vaccine Maitri. Seemingly, India’s conscious decision to do good and not brag or promote it has been reflected in the Pew Research survey. For example – the conspicuously lower-than-average numbers in countries of Latin America have brought the overall number. Resultantly, it indicates a contrary picture of the global perspective about confidence in PM Modi’s leadership.
Additionally, member countries of BRICS – Brazil and South Africa have lowered the 12-country median indicating that there is a need to disseminate the information about our outreach programme more in these countries.
Moreover, India’s global outreach program particularly for countries of the Global South doesn’t seem to have gone down well in certain quarters of Europe leading to some withering in positive views about India over the years, yet it has remained in an overall positive spectrum. The Pew Research numbers showing a noticeable dip in positive views about India seem to underscore the same.
On the domestic front, the Pew Research survey found that the majority of Indians believe that the country’s stature and influence are increasing on the global stage. The survey found that around 68% of the people said that India’s influence is getting stronger with only 13% expressing the complete opposite views.
Around 79% of Indian respondents said that they have favourable views of PM Narendra Modi.