New Delhi: At a time when the missions of various countries in New Delhi continue to undergo a stressful time due to the process of evacuation of their citizens owing to the India-wide Covid-19 lockdown, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has decided to take the soft diplomacy route to help foreign diplomats beat the stress.
The ministry has shared with the envoys a series of YouTube videos on how to practise various yoga postures, featuring an animated version of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a letter sent to all diplomatic and consular missions, UN specialised agencies and other international organisations, the MEA has shared a link to a YouTube channel called ‘Yoga with Modi’.
“It is expected that the video will help in promotion of good health and reduction in stress during this period of restrictions on movement as a result of Covid-19 pandemic,” the MEA states in its letter.
An official who did not wish to be named said: “This is part of MEA’s soft diplomacy initiative. We have not asked anyone to follow it, but if anyone is interested, they can follow and learn from it.”
Multitude of languages
The videos are available in 24 different Indian and foreign languages for the ease of diplomats, including Hindi, English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Persian, Italian, Korean, Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese and Arabic.
The featured video on the home page of the channel is about Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation), while other videos feature other ‘asanas’, such as Pranamasana (prayer pose), Hastottanasana (arms stretched up pose) and Santolanasana (balancing pose), among others.
The videos end with the message that yoga is for “global peace, harmony and wellness”.
PM Modi himself had shared the videos with his social media followers Monday, the day after his ‘Mann ki Baat’ address.
“During yesterday’s #MannKiBaat, someone asked me about my fitness routine during this time. Hence, thought of sharing these Yoga videos. I hope you also begin practising Yoga regularly,” he had tweeted.
During yesterday’s #MannKiBaat, someone asked me about my fitness routine during this time. Hence, thought of sharing these Yoga videos. I hope you also begin practising Yoga regularly. https://t.co/Ptzxb7R8dN
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 30, 2020
While some of the diplomats approached by ThePrint for comment lauded the gesture, others said that due to paucity of time, this may not find its meaningful place.
Several foreign missions and international agencies are now engaged in a rigorous round-the-clock evacuation exercise, as several thousands of foreign visitors and tourists are stranded in India due to the 21-day lockdown and travel restrictions.