The US has returned a total of 157 artefacts and antiques to India which had been smuggled from the country over the years. The antiques were officially handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the United States last week which concluded on September 25.
An official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), after Modi’s return to the country, said both leaders had “committed to strengthening efforts to combat theft, illicit trade and trafficking of cultural objects” during the meeting.
“The endeavour embodies continuous efforts by the Modi government to bring back our antiquities & artefacts from across the world,” the PMO statement said.
The statement, which was released on Saturday, also expressed the Indian government gratitude towards the New York District Attorney’s Office for its “excellent support” in returning over 150 antiques to the country and commended its role in “strengthening Indo-American people-to-people ties and understanding culture through the restitution of precious artefacts.”
The news was also shared by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on September 25, who tweeted, “Homecoming of Indian treasures! 157 Indian antiquities were returned by the Government of USA to the Government of India during the visit of PM @narendramodi to USA,” celebrating the feat.
Homecoming of Indian treasures!
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) September 25, 2021
Out of the list of items handed over to the country, over half are cultural antiques, while the other half consists of religious figurines; 60 are related to Hinduism, 16 are linked to Buddhism and the rest 9 are related to Jainism, the statement further declared.
Some prominent artefacts among the list include a 1.5-metre bas relief panel of Revanta (a Hindu deity) in sandstone (made in the 10th CE), an 8.5-cm Natraj figure from the 12th CE, and 56 terracotta pieces.