PM Modi declares South Asian Games open, says meet springboard for bringing peace in the region

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the 12th South Asian Games being held here are not just a sporting platform but also a “springboard for bringing peace and prosperity in the region through business”.

Declaring the Games open in a colourful ceremony here this evening, Modi said the Games would help form lasting bonds between the participating athletes. “Let these Games become a springboard for bringing peace and prosperity in the region through business, interaction and sporting activities,” Modi said in his address in front of a packed Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium. “The friendships you would form over these 12 days and the memories you take back will last you a lifetime…On the sports field, we can forget what separates us and we can truly connect with each other in the spirit of sportsmanship and adventure,” he added.

Modi said the Games are an opportunity for the region to explore opportunities of growth. “All South Asian countries are partners in our journey towards development…My vision for South Asia is same as my vision for India — Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,” he said. “This meet celebrates togetherness of all South Asian Nations. This sports meet is perfect blend of three Ts – Teamwork, togetherness and talent.”

Lauding the participating athletes, Modi said sports is essential for the overall growth of an individual. “I feel privileged and honoured to be among sportspersons from our neighbourhood and brothers and sisters from SAARC countries. What moves me today is your electrifying presence and enthusiasm for this important international sports event,” he said.

“Among us is the best talent from South Asia. This meet signifies togetherness of all South Asian nations. Sportsmen’s spirit will help you not just on the field but also in other aspects of life. I always say jo khele, wo khile (those who play, shine),” he added.


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Modi said he expects the Games to help improve the tourism and business opportunities in all participating countries. “I am sure that as the Games proceed, this feeling of friendship, trust and understanding will convert into not just sporting opportunities but also business and tourism opportunities,” he said.