South Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Healthcare Diplomacy Through Traditional Medicine: The Path Ahead for India?

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Marigold, New Building

This paper provides a comparative study of the policies of healthcare and medical diplomacy of nation-states including China, Cuba, and the US. Medicine as a tool or ‘currency’ for diplomacy has become a game-changer in international relations. The US, China, and Cuba have implemented healthcare or medical diplomacy as an integral part of their foreign policy. Similarly, India has sent medical teams as part of humanitarian aid to different parts of the world as a response to various natural calamities and other needs. However, it has yet to formalize a strategy or policy on healthcare diplomacy. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, it explores whether India can use medicine as a so-called currency for peace. It will also explore whether the ‘currency’ of this healthcare diplomacy can be the traditional medicine of India as opposed to the Imperial medical practice that was imposed on India during the period of colonialism. Promotion of traditional medicine is not only about re-creating Indian identity but also like the Cuban medical system is more holistic, preventive, and cost-effective. At present, is hardly any academic writing on healthcare diplomacy and India, nor much writing on whether traditional medicine can be used to fill this chasm. The paper will, therefore, contribute towards partially filling this gap in knowledge. It will also explore how healthcare diplomacy can be incorporated as a strategy to aid India in using healthcare as an instrument of soft power.

Sulakshana Sen

Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, India

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