The announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to an Indian and a Pakistani caused many commentators to link the prize to the current tensions between the two countries.
However, while the decision may have had political justifications, it was not related to current events.
According to those knowledgeable about the working of the Nobel Committee of five members chosen by the Norwegian parliament, the decision of the committee was taken last Thursday, when the situation at the LoC hadn’t escalated.
“No doubt the committee is aware that the two countries whose nationals were awarded are one of the powder kegs of the world, and would have thought about that when they decided to combine Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi as winners. But this was not the main political message of the award,” said Kristian Harpeviken, Director of Oslo’s Peace Research Institute.
In an interview to The Hindu Mr. Harpeviken said that the Nobel Committee probably did see Malala’s fight against extremism as significant at a time when ISIS militants are carrying out atrocities in West Asia. In his explanation for the award, former Norwegian PM Thorbjoern Jagand, who heads the committee also said, “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”
Asked about the choice of Mr. Satyarthi, who had been nominated in the past too but unlike Ms. Yousufzai was not considered a frontrunner, Mr. Harpeviken said, “the Nobel Committee may have been worried about Ms. Yousafzai being so young, and felt his age and long record on child rights would balance out her lack of experience.”
Other Nobel experts pointed to the fact that Mr. Satyarthi had been nominated not by the Indian government but by members of the European Parliament known for their activism.Other frontrunners
This year NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pope Francis were among the other frontrunners for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“In those terms, the choice of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi was both a popular and the least controversial one,” said Mr. Harpeviken.