Interaction with the Maldives Delegation
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On 05 July 2019, The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) hosted an interaction with the delegation of journalism students from the Islamic University of Maldives (IUM). The Maldives’ delegation was led by Mr Ahmed Saleem, Dean of the Islamic University. The VIF was represented by the Director of the VIF— Dr Arvind Gupta, and many of its distinguished fellows and experts.

In his welcome remarks, Dr Arvind Gupta put forward a brief overview of VIF’s objectives, India’s economic trajectory and the framework in which India is engaging with its neighbouring countries. Mr Nitin Gokhale, Senior Associate at the VIF and media practitioner, talked about India’s media sector. He emphasised the existence of the large number of media outlets in India, including 24x7 News networks, All India Radio, as well as over 50,000 newspapers in a varied languages. Mr Gokhale also noted the digital shift in media consumption and the growing numbers of active cellular connections in India, which counts to more than a billion. He also emphasised the importance of such diverse forms of media communications which depicts the phenomenon of the ‘Freedom of Expression’ in India.

Post opening remarks, the session was opened for questions and answers. In response to a question regarding the incongruence between the looming threat of extremist radicalisation in the Maldives and the nation’s peaceful values, Dr Arvind Gupta emphasised on the necessity for constant vigilance in the face of growing radicalisation.

The Maldives remain vulnerable in spite of their peaceful front. These vulnerabilities provided a window to many Maldivians who travelled to the Islamic State-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria to fight along with the terrorist organisation. Such vulnerabilities could also present a possibility of surprise attacks such as the recent terror attack in Sri Lanka. The National Security and the neutralisation of internal threats is being prioritised by the countries across the globe, leaving little room for complacency.

One of the members of the visiting delegation inquired about the career prospects in the Indian media industry, the sourcing and facts checking of data for the research purposes. In response, Dr Sreeradha Dutta, Senior Fellow at the VIF, emphasised on the process of peer review, the importance of weighing all sides of an issue(especially in the social sciences), and noted the importance of news agencies and universities in sourcing information regarding the Maldives in particular. In response to a question posed by the delegation regarding deterrents and rehabilitation of radicalised youth, Dr Arvind Gupta informed the members about the importance of social networks, community policing and highlighted India’s efficient de-radicalisation program.

The delegation also highlighted the presence of the Indian Armed Forces for peacekeeping purposes in the Maldives, and took the opportunity to express commitment of providing training to aid and empower its neighbouring countries.

The visiting delegation concluded by reiterating their goals of exploring diverse cultural and democratic values to aid their training in the field of journalism. The discussion was informative and indicative of strengthening relations between the two nations, India and the Maldives.

Event Date 
July 5, 2019

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