DD NEWS:SCO Secretary General hailed India for sharing ‘Yoga - India’s cultural heritage’ as India set to take up SCO presidency in Sep 2022



As the world gears up to the International Day of Yoga, Indian Embassy in China kicked off the celebrations by holding an "Office Yoga" session at the headquarters of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Beijing.

SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming and Indian Ambassador to China Pradeep Kumar Rawat along with SCO diplomats attended the specially designed session of yoga postures for office goers conducted by yoga teacher Ashish Bahuguna of the "WeYoga Academy" Beijing. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Rawat said this yoga event is yet another instance of India's proactive contribution to strengthening cultural cooperation among SCO countries. Ambassador Rawat said: "India will assume SCO presidency in September 2022 and is looking forward to playing a very constructive role in enriching the role of SCO in all spheres". SCO is a unique organization bringing people from different ethnicities, faiths and languages under one umbrella. Yoga also transcends differences promoting harmony and unity, Amb Rawat said.

Zhang, a veteran Chinese diplomat, hailed India for sharing ‘Yoga — India's cultural heritage' with the world saying that "India is the heir to this great heritage" and shared with the world instead of keeping it to itself or hid it in a box. He further said, Yoga is not only an ancient Indian practice but also a way of discovering ourselves and the universe. It teaches us the principles of harmony and balance". Holding this event on the eve of the International Day of Yoga demonstrates once again the importance of "cultural diplomacy" for India, he added. Mr. Zhang said, I am confident that a similar positive attitude, enthusiasm and extensive experience of our Indian colleagues will ensure their success in the role of the next SCO chairmanship.

The International Yoga Day (IYD) is celebrated with enthusiasm in China, where yoga is very popular, with numerous events being organized since its inception by the United Nations in 2014. It is celebrated across the world on June 21 every year. "The philosophy of yoga is consonant with the principles of the ‘Shanghai Spirit' which call on us to live in peace and harmony," he said. The SCO cherishes its rich, diverse and proud cultural heritage. This includes the practice of yoga, Zhang said.

In September, India will take over from Uzbekistan the Presidency of the eight-member SCO comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. In 2014, with the support of all 177 Member countries, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish 21 June as the ‘International Day of Yoga'. "It was recognition of continuing relevance of ancient wisdom of our ancestors," Ambassador Rawat said. "As we gear up to celebrate the International Yoga Day in Beijing, this special Office Yoga session for the SCO Secretariat is the first of the series of Yoga events planned by the Embassy.

This session will be a great way for office workers to relax and relieve stress," he added. Indian Embassy, in close association with the SCO Secretariat, had organised two major Yoga events at the Secretariat in June 2018 and October 2020.

Anshuman Mishra/Beijing