Staff at Indian embassy in Pakistan to mark Yoga Day

Staff at Indian embassy in Pakistan to mark Yoga Day

Days after Pakistan rejected visa to an Indian yoga teacher being sent for preparations of events planned for International Yoga Day, India on Tuesday said its staff at its mission in Islamabad would perform yoga on June 21.

“No problem. Yoga events will definitely be organised there. We have done some internal arrangements. We did not request the Pakistan authorities. Their mindset stood revealed as they rejected visa to our yoga teacher. We arranged (local) teachers from the country (Pakistan) itself and got the participants trained for performance of yoga. We will hold yoga events on the premises of our embassy there,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters when queried about the issue.

Asked if it was “tit for tat” as India too recently rejected visa to a Pakistani official, Swaraj said, “Only Pakistan can tell if it’s tit for tat.”

Out of 193 UN member states, 192 countries will organise various events including performance of yoga to mark International Yoga Day on June 21. Of them, 47 countries are members of Organisation of Islamic Countries, said Swaraj, adding that this showed religion had nothing to do with yoga.

“It’s only Yemen where no event will be organised because our embassy has been shifted from there. We are organising events in 192 countries, while we have our missions in 121 countries only,” she said.

While India could send only 30 yoga instructors to different countries in preparation for International Yoga Day, many yoga gurus, including Ramdev and Ravi Shankar, joined the move and helped the government train those who will perform yoga in the 192 countries.

Twenty countries, including the US, will organise events in multiple cities to mark the occasion.

“I want to extend my gratitude to these yoga gurus,” said Swaraj. While more than 35,000 people, including school and college students as well as government officials, will perform mass yoga in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Rajpath on June 21, similar events will be organised across the country in 650 districts.

Modi, however, will not perform yoga. “He will only deliver an address,” said Swaraj, who will be in New York to attend the events organised at the UN on the occasion.
Most Union ministers and BJP MPs will participate in events planned in their respective constituencies, Said Swaraj. Responding to criticism of government’s yoga day plans, the minister said participation in the event was not mandatory.

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