NEW DELHI: Russian president Vladimir may be a black belt holder in judo, who enjoys wrestling with bears and flying with cranes – but finds a yogic asana intimidating. But, he promised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give yoga a try.
“Yoga is one of the few things I haven’t done yet, though it’s hard to resist the attraction,” Putin is reported to have told Modi in a meeting on Wednesday in the Russia city of Ufa.
As per the Kremlin readout, Modi brought up the international day of yoga and thanked Russia for the support.
“We know that Russia was a co-sponsor of our proposal on this at the UN, but what is also pleasing to see is that this event was celebrated all around Russia, throughout the regions, on a big scale and with everyone taking part and full of enthusiasm. I thank you for this,” he said.
Modi brought up the issue in the background of Indian media taking note of a report of a central Russian city banning yoga as a cult activity. The circular was later withdrawn.
Last month, speaking to Indian journalists, Putin had also been curious as to whether Modi himself practiced Yoga. He had also expressed astonishment that India had a ministry of yoga.
Smiling slightly, Foreign secretary S Jaishankar told reporters later that yoga was a “a subject of some warm reference” during the 90-minute long Modi-Putin talks.
"I do not know how to do yoga. When you people do it, it looks difficult. That is why I have not tried it(so far),” Putin apparently told Modi, adding, “I will see what I can do, given my level of sports”.
Besides Yoga, both leaders spoke about civil nuclear cooperation, with Russia building a number of nuclear power plants in India. “It has acquired greater relevance due to climate change. Lot of attention was paid to accelerating civil nuclear cooperation,” said Jaishankar.