One of the global initiatives of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been International Yoga Day – celebrated across the world on 21 June each year since 2015.
While China is building a global reputation based on the “belt and road” initiative and creating bases in the South China Sea, defending accusations of deliberately creating debt in emerging nations and interfering with neighbours, India just goes on doing its own thing.
China has an ageing population and a trade-dependent economy – it is vulnerable to global economic shifts and worried about security of trade routes.
In contrast, India has a young population and economic growth driven by internal demand. It is less likely to be affected by global economic downturns or security issues.
This is not to say security is not on the mind of India – it recently did a significant deal with Indonesia. But for China, security of trade routes is the dominant global concern.
That is why International Yoga Day gives special insight into modern India – lifting millions out of poverty, creating a strong economy and global strength but celebrating the quiet and peaceful side of its culture. This year the theme was “Yoga for Peace” and somehow I feel only India could come up with such a concept.