Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday came back from his three-day packed trip to the US. The trip held, as per the PM, “productive bilateral and multilateral engagements”. He also expressed that the relationship between Indian and the US will grow even stronger with time.
During PM’s visit to the country, as many as 157 artefacts and antiquities were handed over to him by the United States. The list consists of a diverse set of items from a 1.5-metre bas-relief panel of Revanta in sandstone (made in the 10th century), an 8.5cm tall bronze Nataraj figure from the 12th century, copper objects, some bronze figures, 56 terracotta pieces among others. There was an 18th-century sword, with the inscription mentioning Guru Hargobind Singh in Persian, which was also returned. The items stolen from India belonged to the period between 11th and 14th centuries.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Saturday revealed more items that included a copper anthropomorphic object from 2000 BC and a terracotta vase from the 2nd century. Out of all these, some 71 artefacts were cultural while other figurines were related with Hinduism (60), Buddhism (16) and Jainism (9). During the meeting, PM Modi and US President Joe Biden, also “committed to strengthen efforts to combat theft, illicit trade and trafficking of cultural objects”, according to the statement released.
Once the stolen item is seized in another country, the process of returning items to the country or origin takes more than a year or so. More than 200 stolen antiquities have been returned or in the process of being returned to India between 2014 and 2021 as per ASI, Archaeological Survey of India. Once ASI receives these 157 objects from the PMO, the art pieces will be sent back to the original locations from where the items were stolen or smuggled.