PM Modi brings back scores of stolen artefacts from US

Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought home 157 artefacts and antiquities, which were handed over to India by the US during his visit, with both he and President Joe Biden expressing commitment to strengthening efforts to combat theft, illicit trade and trafficking of cultural objects.

While nearly half of the artefacts (71) are cultural, the other half consists of figurines related to Hinduism (60), Buddhism (16) and Jainism (9), an official statement said on Saturday.

Modi conveyed his deep appreciation for the repatriation of antiquities to India by the United States.

The list of 157 artefacts includes a diverse set of items ranging from the one-and-a-half metre bas relief panel of Revanta in sandstone of the 10th CE to the 8.5 cm tall, exquisite bronze Nataraja from the 12th CE. The artefacts largely belong to the period of 11th CE to 14th CE as well as historic antiquities such as the copper anthropomorphic object of 2000 BC or the terracotta vase from the 2nd CE. Some 45 antiquities belong to the BC Era, it said.

This continues the efforts by the Modi government to bring back India’s antiquities and artefacts from across the world, it said.

Government sources said that only 13 antiquities were retrieved by India from different countries between 1976 and 2013.

However, between 2014, when Modi came to power, and 2021, over 200 antiquities have either returned or are in the process of being returned, they added.

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