Professionals from both countries exchanged views on political and economic issues as well as the image given of the two countries through media.
Ramón Moreno, director general of Casa Asia, welcomed the leaders in the first activity of the Programme in Barcelona, defining India as "a young and raising country, but also millenary and proud of its cultural heritage". He also wanted to exchange impressions on bilateral relations between the two countries: "In the last five years there has been a qualitative leap and expectations are rising regarding our relationship. In this context, the Indian Leaders Programmewhich becomes more and more significat. "
The Indian journalist Saurabh Shukla has expressed one of the first thoughts: "We know that Spain is suffering a financial crisis, but we couldn´t notice that on the street. I think three "f": food, football and films, could represent an important focus for enhancing mutual interest and flow of tourists. " The Director General of Casa Asia has understood that cinema can be a very profitable trade route, but lamented the lack of Indian film distribution in Spain. While many Indian citizens have begun to show interest in our country thanks to the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” from Zoya Akhtar.
Pranay Sharma has raised some reflections on the global crisis. From his point of view, Spanish crisis should be understood "not as a bad thing. The main problem is that Spain, as a brand, is not known in India. Many people know the shop Zara, for example, but they do not know that it is a Spanish company. " According to the journalist of Outlook India, we should continue this trend of coalition that is beginning between Spain and India.
One of the participants in the Indian Leaders Programme, Sonia Singh, wanted to know how the Spanish journalism helps to give visibility to international relations. Ana Bordas, TVE, has responded that media try to create a balance between national and international content.
Then, the conversation has turned to how communicators should position themselves in situations of political and economic effervescence as the one we are living. To this question, Milagros Pérez-Oliva, opinion editor of El Pais, said that "we are in a moment of radicalization and polarization of thoughts. These days, moderation always suffers, and this is one of the difficulties for journalists when creating an honest and open debate without pressures ".
India's news in Spain
Shaili Chopra wanted to know the real interest in India shown by Spain. The journalist Ana Bordas has ensured that we see India as "a great opportunity". Meanwhile, Vaiju Naravane has emphasized the major projects underway that can benefit both countries. In her opinion, we also need a political commitment so Spain does not see India anymore "as a country full of corruption, traffic and complexities". Naravane has opined that to resolve this hole of knowledge, "we need to make India more friendly and understandable. There is a big mistake when explaining who we are”, specially now that Spain needs India more than India needs Spain.
Journalists, both Spanish and Indians, have also commented the distorted focus in the news from India. The director of Casa Asia, Ramon Moreno, believed that the incorporation of Spanish correspondents in New Delhi can serve as a way to give India a more faithful image close to reality: "Now India is present in the main international forums and from Spain we understand the importance that the country is taking. " Joaquin Luna, international editor of La Vanguardia, has explained that "Spain hasn´t had powerful colonies in Asia, except Philippines, so can not be compared to other European countries relationship with the continent." Luna wanted to note a number of optimistic points in our relationship, "first because in our country there are no anti-immigration political parties, and secondly, because unemployment and other problems are creating a very supportive society in Spain." From this perspective, Shoma Chaudhury believes that we must seize the challenges that we face in this new global scenario and a it is a must to develop a "new economic thinking".
The Spain-India Council Foundation as a tool for mutual understanding
Manuel Cacho, secretary general of the Spain-India Council Foundation, wanted to summarize the symposium recognizing the lack of knowledge that characterizes India-Spain connections and poor presence in mass media. "The image of Spain in India focuses on the crisis, a bad image. And in Spanish media in general, India has little presence, gradually becoming bigger due to India's growing influence in the world and we need to reflect this. " Cacho, stressed that "promoting mutual understanding and bringing closer public opinion and civil societies, is one of the goals of the Spain-India Council Foundation".