50 nations, including China and US, back Modi’s call for International Yoga Day

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NEW DELHI: One of PM Narendra Modi’s first global imprints could come soon with the fructification of his proposal – which he announced in his UNGA speech — for an International Day of Yoga. As many as 50 countries – US, Canada and China most recently — have signed up for co-sponsorship of a draft resolution which India’s UN mission is preparing for declaring June 21 as international Yoga day.

The resolution will be submitted soon to the UN secretariat with the government looking to aggressively push for its adoption before the end of this year. Perhaps India’s most significant export to the world, the ancient art of Yoga is fast taking centre-stage in Modi’s soft power push.

The list of co-sponsors includes Asian heavyweights China, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea and also South Africa and Nigeria in Africa. Neighbours such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka were amongst the earliest to sign on. Latin American giants Brazil and Argentina too have committed support.

With USA and Canada joining recently, the EU members are expected to also join as co-sponsors soon in what, according to official sources, is turning out to be a broad-based coalition of support that has countries as disparate as Iran and Cuba on board.

Yoga-at-Times-Sqare-1

Yoga is enjoying rising popularity in the United States and has now become a multi-billion dollar business.

READ ALSO: Narendra Modi calls for International Yoga Day

Following Modi’s call for an International Yoga Day in New York on September 26, the Indian Mission to UN has gone about seeking support for the PM’s proposal in an exercise being directly monitored by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj.

The resolution, couched in terms of building better and healthier lifestyle patterns, is expected to be submitted to the UN Secretariat soon.

“The goal is to then step up outreach efforts to other countries in November so as to garner overwhelming support for adoption before the end of the year, signalling that delivery is an important ingredient of PM’s foreign policy announcements,” said a source.


(People take part in a group yoga practice in Times Square. Reuters file photo.)

Yoga has invariably found mention in Modi’s exchanges with important world leaders including with President Obama. He explained the benefits of Yoga to Obama over their White House dinner, which saw Modi sipping only on warm water as he was fasting, as the president expressed admiration for Modi’s “energy and vigour”. Modi also gifted a book on Yoga to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott.

Calling for a change in lifestyle and for creating consciousness, Modi in his UNGA speech said Yoga could even help deal with climate change.

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature,” he said.

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