BY Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 5: Prime Minister rendra Modi today iugurated the 12th South Asian Games and called upon participating countries to utilise the sporting event to cement ties of friendship, tourism and commerce.
Welcoming athletes from the eight SAARC countries at a glittering iugural ceremony in the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium here, the Prime Minister said, ''Let the spirit of Gurukul prevail for two weeks. Let the competitions be in the best sportsman spirit, may the best win. I declare the Games open.''
"My vision for South Asia is the same as for India - Sabka saath, sabka vikash (inclusive growth with all). South Asian countries are our partners in development," he said
"I hope the spirit of friendship will culmite in trade and tourism. Let the people of South Asia realise their potential," Modi said, pointing that the region has 21 percent of world population and contributes 9 percent to world economy. He also emphasised on the three 'T's mely Teamwork, Togetherness and Talent - as the core spirit of the Games, adding, "No matter which country we are, we all call South Asia our home."
"A good game is both healthy and refreshing. All round development of persolity is complete with sports. Without sports, there cannot be any sportsman spirit,'' the PM added.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Governors and Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, Union ministers Sarbanda Sonowal and Dharmendra Pradhan and IOA president N Ramachandran, among other dignitaries.
The 12-day Games, which will see India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka compete for honours, will feature 228 events in 22 sports disciplines.