Saturday, 24 May 2014

Media missed the point with Modi's SAARC invite

Past few days, media have been fixated with whether Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend the swearing in of Prime Minister designate Sh. Narendra Modi or not. There are two important issues that need to be cleared up here:

1) It doesn't matter whether Prime Minister Sharif attends or not - even though it has been hilarious to witness Sh. Modi putting him into a pickle with just an invite.

2) Media has missed a golden opportunity to educate the general public about the significance of SAARC, which stands for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

The media must consider reviewing its coverage regarding the invite. Their focus on Pakistan's attendance, in my opinion, has stained their credibility and made news coverage seem like recordings of the gossip that takes place in a 'kitty party'. Who is coming? Why won't they come? Will they send someone in their place?

The invite from Modi, generally speaking of course, was a prudent move. Given that BJP's election campaign was chiefly run on development and economic growth, it signals out to the world that South Asia is no longer willing accept poverty, corruption, terrorism and filth - or at least that's what the media could have suggested. If only they had the will to research the principles of SAARC, the potential partnerships, common visions and goals and areas where India could establish its influence and project soft power. Instead, it focused on who is attending or not.

This election was perhaps the most covered Indian election around the world. Even here in Gothenburg, Sweden from where I am currently writing this blog post, the elections were mentioned several times in our local newspapers. In other words, the swearing in ceremony is something that will be followed from all over the planet. Our intellectuals and new editors should have projected this as a potential event for South Asia, headed by India, to fulfil its potential and present itself to the world that we are ready to enter into a new age of development, prosperity and peace.

/Arjun