My Interview with Dr A M Gondane, Indian High Commissioner Canberra – on “soft power” and diaspora

The High Commissioner sees great potential in the Indian diaspora in Australia.

“The Indian diaspora here is very active and each diaspora brings its own culture. India has several sub-nationalities.  They bring their culture to Australia. It will mature over time and you will see multifaceted manifestation in the diaspora, the best of the best emerging.

“Similarly, the Indian diaspora will fuse with the Australian culture and this fusion could be transported back to India.  It would be very interesting. Australians will not only embrace English content and Hollywood but may be Australia will embrace, make and watch Bollywood films and something wonderful will come out and would be very good for both countries. We would be happy to facilitate in all ways as this is important. There should be movement, it should not be static, it should not remain in one place, failure does not matter,” he said.

Talking about Indian culture, Dr Gondane said: “India culture in Australia is not jazzy or upfront like Hollywood – but in a soft way it is very good and longer lasting.

“Music, fashion, literature, cuisine, poetry, dance, academic exchanges – we should mutually make each other better through this soft power. Soft power relations are very encouraging” Dr Gondane said.

One of the High Commissioner’s favourite themes is that India is changing fast – so fast it is hard to keep up with.

“To comprehend modern India is difficult even for Indians! India is changing rapidly while trying to keep its moorings intact.

“More visits of business and people between the two countries will be very good, especially if they are perceptive to imagine modern India; I encourage people to go for whatever time they can. The changing dynamic can be utilised for expansion of Australian businesses, ably guided and chaperoned by the Indian Diaspora.

“Buddha said – one principal of life which is constant is change. Change is constant, everything is susceptible to change, whether it is life, material things or ideas – all are subject to change,” Dr Gondane said in conclusion.


Pictured – the Australian World Orchestra performing in Chennai during its second tour of India – “soft power’ diplomacy at work under the leadership of the Chairperson of the AWO, Harish Rao.

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

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