Providing further details later, Reddy, who was recently elevated to the ministry, said India had retrieved several stolen heritage objects.
The Indian government had brought back 75 per cent of the country’s stolen heritage during the tenure of Narendra Modi, Union Minister of Culture and Tourism G. Kishan Reddy informed the Rajya Sabha.
In a written reply, Reddy said 54 antiquities had been retrieved from overseas since 1976.
Providing further details later, Reddy, who was recently elevated to the ministry, said India had retrieved several stolen heritage objects. He added that the number of such antiquities that had been recovered reached the highest ever in the last seven years.
India has repatriated 41 heritage objects — over 75 per cent of the objects returned in total — in the past seven years.
Reddy also hailed the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his relentless efforts in retrieving these antiquities. He said he believed the recent success in repatriation of stolen antiquities from abroad was due to the continuously improving cultural relations, made possible by the personal relations that Modi shared with heads of states, making the expeditious return possible.
Last year, some of the most famous museums in The Netherlands supported a report that proposed the repatriation of thousands of artefacts to their countries of origin from where they were taken during colonial times.
That report sparked renewed debate for the return of stolen artefacts, taken forcibly during colonisation or illegally post-independence, to their home countries. India has been pressing for the return of several artefacts from around the world, especially the UK. The famous Kohinoor Diamond, on display at the Tower of London, tops the list of items. India, alongside Pakistan, also wants Tipu’s Wooden Tiger displayed at a museum in London to be returned.
Reddy also lauded the efforts of the Archaeological Survey of India and the Central Bureau of Investigation for the success of these endeavours.
He said an integral part of the country’s foreign policy was the protection and preservation of Indian cultural heritage and artefacts. Thus, returning these historical objects is part of a process to restore the country’s pride and acknowledge its historical past.
The Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture is actively working with the Ministry of External Affairs to expedite the process for the return of more such artefacts, Reddy added.