The Durand Cup, Asia's oldest football tournament is being held in multiple venues of Kolkata, Imphal and Guwahati. Manipur is hosting 10 group C matches of the Cup.
Singh said it is a "historic day" as Durand cup was being played in Manipur.
He said it shows a huge prestige for the North East and is a matter of huge pride for the region.
Singh said there is a soldier in a player and a player in a soldier.
"I also believe, the spirit of sportsmanship should be present in politicians too", Singh said.
Delighted to attend the Inaugural Ceremony of the Imphal Chapter of Durand Cup-2022 today.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 18, 2022
Durand Cup is one of the oldest football tournaments in the world.
The Indian Army has done a commendable job by organising the matches in Manipur. pic.twitter.com/TRUo5KJOQQ
"India has been able to achieve a new height in sports competition be it Olympics, Asian Games Or Commonwealth Games in the last six-seven years and prestige of the country has increased in international level" the Defence Minister said.
Earlier, all attention used to be in cricket but today attention is on sports which received less popularity, Singh said.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh in his speech thanked the Indian Army and tournament authority for making it possible to hold Durand Cup matches in the state.
He also expresses his profound gratitude to Defence minister Rajnath Singh for attending the inaugural match of the Manipur edition of the tournament.
Rajnath Singh is on a two day visit to the state.
Manipur government announced half day holiday on Thursday for all government offices and institutions including schools and colleges to enable employees to watch the inaugural match between two state based teams of NEROCA FC and TRAU FC.
NEROCA FC beat local rivals TRAU FC 3-1 in a group C fixture of the Durand Cup at the Khuman Lampak stadium here on Thursday.