Yoga Day 2018: PM Narendra Modi performed yoga at Dehradun's Forest Research Institute. (AFP)
Dehradun: Prime Minister Narendra Modi led close to 50,000 people today in Dehradun to mark the fourth International Yoga Day celebrations while many union ministers are participating in similar events across the country. Addressing the gathering, PM Modi said, "Yoga has emerged as the biggest unifying force in the world." The Prime Minister reached the venue a little after 6:30 am, addressed the gathering and performed yoga along with those assembled there. PM Modi, who arrived in Dehradun late last evening, was welcomed at the airport by Uttarakhand Governor Krishna Kant Paul, Chief Minister TS Rawat and a host of other leaders and officials.
Here is your 10-point cheatsheet to International Yoga Day 2018:
Greeting yoga enthusiasts across the world on the occasion, PM Modi said that yoga has become the biggest mass movement and it has shown the world the path from illness to wellness. "Instead of increasing suffering, Yoga heals," PM Modi said before he went on to perform the asanas.
Wearing a white t-shirt and a pair of white trousers, PM Modi performed breathing exercises and asanas on the lawns of the Forest Research Institute (FRI). Giving him company were thousands of other yoga enthusiasts who performed the asanas on saffron yoga mats. It was the Prime Minister who led the chanting of the first round of 'Om'.
Over 50,000 mats were spread at the main function venue that has been shut to visitors over the past two days. Nearly 3,000 security personnel were on duty and over 60 CCTV cameras kept a close watch.
Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu, Uma Bharti, Ram Vilas Paswan, Ravi Shankar Prasad are participating in yoga events in Lucknow, Nagpur, Chennai, Rudraprayag, Hajipur and Patna respectively.
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu participated in a yoga event in Mumbai organised by a non-profit run by BJP's Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was also present on the occasion.
The celebrations are not just limited to India. Personnel of the Indian Navy participating in Malabar military exercises with the Japanese and US navies off Guam in the Pacific Ocean performed yoga on board the warships.
In December 2014, based on a request from PM Modi, the United Nations General Assembly had declared that June 21 would be observed as International Day of Yoga every year.
Last year, PM Modi had led the International Yoga Day celebrations in Lucknow. Chandigarh was the host city for the main event in 2016 and the main event for the first International Yoga Day celebrations was New Delhi in 2015.