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In what is being seen as a diplomatic triumph for India, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has inscribed yoga in Unesco's Representative List, a senior official said on Thursday.
"This declaration of yoga as a 'human treasure' enjoyed the unanimous support of the 24-member Committee which overturned the decision of an evaluation body of technical experts, seeking to defer the case to the next session of the committee in 2017," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing here.
"The inscription and classification as a 'human treasure' brings immense recognition to yoga, clearing as it has rigorous criteria set out by Unesco, the only UN body mandated to capture the intangible aspects of culture," he said.
"It emphasises yoga's role as a social practice, an oral tradition and a system of ancient and scientific knowledge facilitating an enhanced harmony and peace across caste, creed, gender, age and nationality."
Swarup said that the inscription in the Unesco list has enabled "a bottoms-up empowerment, as it directs the spotlight towards the numerous institutions and communities in India disseminating this ancient tradition".
"As well, it can potentially foment a dialogue on the ideas of peace and tolerance, how these can be extended to meet the goals of sustainable development and where India can play a leading role in this global dialogue on intercultural relations," he added.