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Over 200 stolen artifacts worth Rs 667 crores ($100 million) returned to India by US

Among the artifacts returned to India was a bronze sculpture of Ganesha that is believed to be 1,000 years old

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Indian Sculpture. Image source: dawn.com
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  • The artifacts are worth Rs 667, which is $100 million USD
  • Subhash Kapoor, who is believed to be involved in antiquities theft in different nations, now awaits trial in India
  • Apart from the United States, other countries are also returning stolen items to India

On Tuesday, June 7 at a ceremony at the Blair House (Washington), the United States returned over 200 artifacts to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some of the pieces are nearing 200 years old, and many were stolen from religious sites. Collectively, the pieces are worth Rs 667, which is $100 million USD. The returned items consist of religious statues, bronze and terracottas items.

Among the items stolen was a statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar which represents a Hindu mystic and poet from the Chola period. Saint Manikkavichavakar’s statue was stolen from Chennai’s Sivan Temple. Also among the artifacts was a bronze sculpture of Ganesh. This sculpture is believed to be 1,000 years old.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Usually relationship between the countries of the world are very often covered by the present. It is the present that plays a big role, but sometimes heritage becomes important in the relations of two countries. Sometimes what cannot be done by living persons is done by idols.”

The investigation can be dated back to 2007, when special agents of Homeland Security Investigations received word that seven crates of artifacts were making a trip to America. This shipment was coordinated by Subhash Kapoor, owner of New York’s Art of the Past Gallery. Kapoor now awaits trial in India along with five other people who were arrested in connection to this case.

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Due to this these events both the governments and law enforcements are more acutely aware of the artifact trafficking that goes on across borders. They are not only working to end the transferring of artifacts, but they aim to return the items back to where they belong.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson had some words of wisdom, but was not able to attend the ceremony of returning the artifacts. He stated, “Protecting the cultural heritage of our global community is important work and we are committed to identifying and returning these priceless items to their countries of origin and rightful owners.”

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The United States is not the only country returning stolen items. Over the past two years many countries have set out to return items that are rightfully India’s. The Prime minister also went on to say, “For some, these artifacts may be measured in monetary terms and could be in millions for them, but for the people of India, it is a part of our culture and heritage that joins us to our past, that joins us to our values.”

Tourists who travel thousand miles to come to India are not only interested in visiting modern sites but are also interested in rich culture and history that a place offers. The artifacts that speak to these attributes have begun their trip home. US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch says, “It is my hope – and the hope of the American people – that this repatriation will serve as a sign of our great respects for India’s culture; our deep admiration for its people; and our sincere appreciation for the ties between our nations.”

-by Abigail Andrea, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @abby_kono

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  • Shubhi Mangla

    So finally India is making efforts to revive its culture.These artifacts are of utmost importance to our heritage

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    These artifacts are have cultural and historical importance in our country. These should be saved in order to remember our art and culture

  • devika todi

    the governments all over the world should work to preserve the culture of their respective countries. artifact trafficking it a serious issue, as it robs a country of its culture. this matter should be looked into seriously.

  • Paras Vashisth

    Worth of anything doesn’t matter,
    The fact is- what is the importance of that thing.
    And in case of unique artifacts it reflects history,culture and all aspects of our forefathers.

  • Shubhi Mangla

    So finally India is making efforts to revive its culture.These artifacts are of utmost importance to our heritage

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    These artifacts are have cultural and historical importance in our country. These should be saved in order to remember our art and culture

  • devika todi

    the governments all over the world should work to preserve the culture of their respective countries. artifact trafficking it a serious issue, as it robs a country of its culture. this matter should be looked into seriously.

  • Paras Vashisth

    Worth of anything doesn’t matter,
    The fact is- what is the importance of that thing.
    And in case of unique artifacts it reflects history,culture and all aspects of our forefathers.

Next Story

India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

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India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

Also Read: ‘Vanakkam!’ Tweets Canadian PM: Justin Trudeau Joins over 200,000 People at the Biggest Tamil Diaspora Festival in Toronto

It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

Also Read: India and Canada to Jointly Issue Two Sets of Diwali Themed Postal Stamps

It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS