BBC World’s attention on the India market in terms of brand visibility and communication has been seen for a while now. One of the recent initiatives from the channel comes in its partnership with the second FICCI SAARC forum. As a part of the forum, Business Leaders Conclave 2007, BBC World, which was the exclusive media partner for the event, hosted a panel discussion on ‘Is a South Asian Economic Union necessary or beneficial for economic growth in South Asian nations?’
Vaishali Sharma, Head of Marketing Communication, BBC World, India, said, “The BBC World panel discussion at SBLC 2007 was part of our constant endeavour as a leading international news channel to provide a platform for global debate, dialogue and discussion. The debate on the need for a South Asian Economic Union highlighted important issues presently facing the SAARC regions. We remain committed to providing many such opportunities to discuss global issues that concern our Indian audiences.”
The debate received participation from personalities who are actively involved in the economics of the SAARC region. The panel included Vicki Treadell, Deputy High Commissioner, British Deputy High Commission, Mumbai, Anand Giridharadas, South Asia Correspondent, International Herald Tribune, Rajdeep Uppal, Managing Director, Narain Exim Corporation and Pakistani Filmaker, Pir Saad Ahsanuddin. The debate was moderated by BBC World’s business correspondent for India, Karishma Vaswani.
The BBC World debate highlighted the questions on the necessity of a South Asian Economic Forum for the growth of the region. The views expressed were largely positive in nature. Vicki Treadell, British Dy High Commissioner, said, ‘If we look at the establishment of the European Union, then no one can disagree with the value extended by EU to the region and they are gradually strengthening their moves, which should encourage other sectors.”
There was also discussion on relations between India and Pakistan and the need for better connectivity between the SAARC nations to encourage free trade in the region.
Anand Giridharadas, South Asian Correspondent, International Herald Tribune commented, ‘One aspect about an economic union would be that, it would tend to sideline politics and people focusing more on mere trade agreements.’
Also present at the panel discussion, Ajit Ranade emphasised the importance of free flow of goods, ideas and people within the SAARC region while filmmaker, Saad expressed the hope of regulations which permit Indian films to be more easily showcased in Pakistan.
The SAARC Business Leaders Conclave 2007 was held in Mumbai on February 17 and 18, 2007. The event was inaugurated by Pranab Mukherjee, Foreign Minister of India and the two-day event witnessed participation from eminent corporate, government and media personnel from across the sub-continent.