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Indian PM marks world yoga day with plea to celebrate country’s culture

Narendra Modi joined a mass exercise for the fourth International Day of Yoga.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Indians to take pride in their heritage as he joined tens of thousands at an event to celebrate world yoga day.

Mr Modi, a Hindu nationalist, travelled to the town of Dehradun in the foothills of the Himalayas for the fourth International Day of Yoga.

Sailors perform yoga on the deck of Indian naval aircraft carrier Viraat (Rafiq Maqbool/AP)

Shortly after sunrise, he performed exercises with about 50,000 people and said that “yoga is enriching millions of lives all over the world”.

He also asked Indians to be proud of their culture and history.

Hindu holy men strike yogic poses on International Yoga Day at the Kamakhya temple in Gauhati (Anupam Nath/AP)

“The gems of India’s unique heritage, such as yoga, will be respected by the world at large only when we ourselves respect our culture and traditions,” he said.

Tens of thousands more people joined in mass yoga exercises across the country, including staff at New Delhi airport, pupils at thousands of schools and members of India’s armed forces.

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