Photo by Himani Singh

After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the Indo-German Media Network (IGMN) organized a meetup for its alumni on 10 December 2022 in New Delhi. Around 20 members from across India attended the event at the Foreign Correspondents Club, situated in the heart of the capital.

The event was divided in three parts: an interactive workshop, a panel discussion and an informal networking:

  • It kicked off with a hands-on workshop by Anuj Arora, a photographer, and Bharat Chaudhary, an academic specialising in social media. The three-hour session aimed to familiarise participants on how to use Instagram effectively for digital storytelling. Using Instagram is a skill now deemed crucial by many journalists, said Chaudhary. While it started as a platform for entertainment, Instagram has evolved to a point that news professionals across the world use it to promote themselves and their stories.

  • The workshop covered the basics of the medium: How to build a brand, make reels and stories, and use Instagram's algorithm to grow audience and reach new ones. Arora shared examples of news professionals like Faye D'souza to Anderson Cooper to demonstrate how they blend their personal and professional lives to communicate and connect with their audience. Towards the end, participants made their own reels and received feedback. The key, the trainers emphasized, was consistency. Then, based on the viewership and other metrics, one can sharpen content and build one's brand.

Photo by Himani Singh

  • Up next was the panel discussion titled "India-EU relations after the Russian invasion of Ukraine". It featured Harsh Pant from the think-tank Observer Research Foundation, Prof Ummu Salma Bava from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Peter Hornung, the South Asia bureau chief with ARD German Radio. Sunaina Kumar, member of the IGMN, moderated the discussion. 

The discussion showed that the Russia-Ukraine conflict and an increasingly assertive China, the panelists said, had brought about a new era in the India-European Union relations. 

Earlier, India and the EU relations were led by people-to-people ties, said Prof Bava. But in recent years, it has acquired a strategic depth. Increasingly, the West is realizing that India is more than a cheap supplier of labour. Delhi, too, has been trying to pitch itself as a problem-solver in global crises, as demonstrated by the large-scale production and supply of Covid19 vaccines to the world.

The ties are bolstered by the fact that that India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "among the most pro-West governments we have seen", said Pant. But the partnership, he added, was based on pragmatism. The EU recognized why India wasn't willing to curb oil imports from Russia like many in the West. PM Modi cancelling his annual visit to Moscow in December, too, was an acknowledgement that India will be scrutinized a lot more ahead of the G20 summit 2023.

The visit by the German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock in the first week of December was a crucial indicator in the increasing proximity between the India-EU ties, said Peter Hornung. In 2023, the German chancellor is expected to visit India twice, including for the G20 summit. "It shows how important this region (India and South Asia) is now", he added.

The panelists urged the attendees to capitalize on this new chapter in the India-EU ties to forge closer partnership and understanding between the two regions. "It's a chance to be a force multiplier and look beyond stereotypes," said Prof Bava.

You can watch the discussion on YouTube.

The evening ended with the panelists, attendees and alumni members connecting over appetizers and drinks in the Club lawns.

Author: Omkar Khandekar
Photos: Himani Singh