Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday he has carefully thought about the idea of an annual Hill Sports Festival with India’s North Eastern States including Nepal and Bhutan. With the idea being welcomed by the locals of the North Eastern States, the current sports landscape of India continues to transform.
As has been discussed in great deal for years, the problem with sports in India has always been the lack of organization. The talent is there – as it must be with a population of 1.2 billion people – but the structure and resources have rarely been up to par. Modi understands value of an improved sports landscape, a transformation that would also impact state-to-state relations.
“Sports brings sportsman spirit, which contributes to happiness,” Modi said as he asked Indian states and Bhutan to mull over the possibility of such an event.
The proposal has a great deal to do with the development of Bhutan, whose population of 750,000 is even less than some of India’s states. Bhutan’s lack of a proper sports infrastructure has kept them from hosting the South Asian Games. Bhutan has a football team and is in the process of building a competitive cricket squad.
“It’s a very good idea,” said Tenzing Lamsang, the editor-in-chief of the largest circulated English weekly, The Bhutanese. “It will encourage people-to-people contact.”
Modi’s efforts may not pay immediate dividends, but his plan to improve the overall structure of both sports and politics in India offer great hope for the future.