Swaraj says UN decision to mark yoga day shows India`s growing soft power

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

New York, June 22: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that the United Nations` decision to commemorate the International Day of Yoga underlines the appreciation for India and its growing soft power.

Sushma Swaraj, who attended a function marking the day at the Hindu Temple Society of North America on Sunday, said the way the day was commemorated around the globe, “the world had made the first International Day of Yoga its own.”

External Affairs Minister said that yoga is one of India’s most important gifts to the world, and the UN’s decision to commemorate the day underlines the appreciation for India and its growing soft power.

Swaraj said the colour of the skin, religious or political affiliation or the nationality did not matter for the hundreds of thousands that performed yoga in the city, adding “They were all united by the awareness of the power of yoga.”

She said “today we have made a good beginning” and the future is filled with immense possibilities.

She also cited the benefits of yoga in the treatment of asthma, diabetes, drug addiction and heart disease, adding “Yoga is about self discovery and self acceptance.”

Addressing the International Day of Yoga celebrations at the UN on Sunday, she reportedly said that yoga should not be seen as belonging to any particular religion and the ancient spiritual practice can serve as the “perfect antidote” to stem “negative tendencies” and move humanity on the path of peace in a world beset by violence and conflict.

She further said: “The entire world is one family, and we can unite it with Yoga. At a time when ethnic conflicts and extremist violence are threatening to destabilise societies, Yoga can serve as the perfect antidote to stem such negative tendencies and move us on the path of harmony and peace.”

Earlier on Sunday, tens of thousands yoga enthusiasts around the world took to mats in a symbol of universality of the ancient Indian spiritual practice as they marked the maiden International Day of Yoga.

(With Agency Inputs)

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