Speeches/Statements Remarks by Ambassador of India Vikram Misri at the Yoga@SCO event (18 Oct 2020)

Remarks by Ambassador of India Vikram Misri at the Yoga@SCO event (18 Oct 2020)

Embassy of India
Remarks by Ambassador of India Vikram Misri at the Yoga@SCO event (18 October 2020)

Your Excellency, Mr. Vladimir Norov, SCO Secretary General;

Your Excellency, Ms. Cui Li, Deputy Chairman of SCO Committee for Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation;

Your Excellency, Mr. Lin Songtian, President of Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC),

My fellow Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

          It gives me immense pleasure to be at this launch by the SCO of a series of cultural and sports events.  I would like to congratulate the SCO Secretary General and his team at the Secretariat as well as the organizers for this achievement.  I am also thankful to the Secretary General for his initiative of organizing a  yoga demonstration as part of today's events. 

          India is a new member of the SCO but our association with the countries of the ‘SCO Family’ dates back centuries and even millenia in some cases. This is a bonding born of shared history and heritage, shared customs and culture; and shared ideas and interests. The friendly relations that existed in the past between India and SCO countries through people to people contact, movement of goods, technologies and philosophies, including spiritual traditions spanning everything from yoga to sufism, have been widely documented. These age-old cultural links and shared memories enable the SCO members and their people across this whole region to share each other's cultural offerings, be they in the fields of cinema, music, art or, indeed, Yoga and benefit from them.

          Today's presentation on Yoga@SCO is especially relevant as it goes beyond race, colour, faith, religion and region. Yoga brings people together around the world.  Recent years have seen an explosion in its popularity, especially since 2014, when the UNGA adopted a unanimous resolution designating 21 June as the International Day of Yoga.  Today's event is yet another indication of Yoga's global appeal. It is a part of India’s contribution to strengthening cultural cooperation among SCO countries and a contribution to greater understanding of each other’s cultural heritage.

          Yoga, born in ancient Indian tradition, has now become universal.  It embodies unity of mind, body and soul and shows a holistic approach to health & well-being. It has physical benefits of course but it is not just about exercise. Instead, it helps discover a sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and nature.  Practising Yoga during the time of the pandemic has been shown to be particularly useful as it strengthens the respiratory system and helps relieve stress.

          I must say that during my time in China, I have been greatly impressed with the fervour with which Chinese people across the country practice yoga.  The International Day of Yoga is celebrated every year in many cities all over China.  Together with celebrations across the world, this demonstrates the  timeless quality of the ancient  Indian  belief of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - the ‘World is One Family’.

          In 2018, the SCO leaders agreed, as part of the Qingdao Declaration, that organising the International Yoga Day annually will contribute to stronger friendship, peace, mutual understanding and harmony. The Indian Embassy has been closely associated with the SCO Secretariat in organizing various cultural activities, including Yoga, with the support of the Secretary General. One of our major Yoga events was held for the very first time at this venue in June 2018. I am grateful to the SCO Secretary General, and the distinguished Ambassadors of SCO countries present here as well as their Missions for assisting and cooperating with us in promoting Yoga among the ‘SCO family’.

          As the distinguished guests gatherd here would be aware, India has assumed the Chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of Government this year and is hosting the meeting of SCO Premiers next month. We are playing a constructive role in enriching the agenda of SCO and many initiatives proposed by India in the fields of economics & trade, startups, healthcare, S&T and culture have been supported by SCO members. I once again thank the  SCO Ambassadors gathered here for their coopeartion and support in this regard.

          I invite you all to join the rejuvenating session of Yoga and hope you will enjoy it.

          Thank you.