PM Modi thanks US government for returning artefacts to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked the US for returning over 100 rare and ancient artefacts to India, barely a month after his visit to America.

PM Narendra Modi participating in the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), at White House, in Washington DC on June 23, 2023. Photo Courtesy: PIB

In his monthly radio address 'Mann Ki Baat', Modi said: "A few days ago an awesome craze appeared on social media. America has returned to us more than a hundred rare and ancient artefacts."

"After this news came to the fore, there was a lot of discussion on social media about these artefacts," he said.

"The youth displayed a sense of pride in their heritage. These artefacts returned to India are 2500 to 250 years old," Modi said.

"You will also be happy to know that these rare items are related to different regions of the country. These have been made using Terracotta, Stone, Metal and Wood," he said.

Modi said: "Some of these are such that they will fill you with wonder. If you have a look at them, you will be left mesmerised. You will also get to see a beautiful sandstone sculpture of the 11th century among these."

"This is an artwork of an 'Apsara' dancing, which belongs to Madhya Pradesh. Many idols of the Chola era are also part of these," Modi said.

"The idols of Devi and Lord Murugan date back to the 12th century and are associated with the rich culture of Tamil Nadu. Nearly a thousand year old bronze statue of Lord Ganesha has also been returned to India," he said.

He said: "An idol of Uma-Maheshwara in Lalitasan is said to be of the 11th century, in which both of them are seated on Nandi. Two stone idols of Jain Tirthankaras have also come back to India. Two idols of Bhagwan Surya Dev will also enthrall you."

"One of these is made of Sandstone. Among the items returned is a panel made of wood, which brings to the fore the story of the churning of the ocean. This panel of 16th-17th century is associated with South India," Modi said.

 Thanking the American government for the initiative, Modi said: "I would like to thank the American government, who have returned this valuable heritage of ours. Even when I visited America in 2016 and 2021, many artefacts were returned to India. I am sure that with such efforts, awareness will increase across the country to stop the theft of our cultural heritage. This will further deepen the attachment of the countrymen with our rich heritage."

As many as 105 trafficked antiquities have been returned to India by the United States and will be back in India soon, officials earlier this month told The Indian Express.

Incidentally, Modi visited the USA and Egypt from June 20 to 25.

He was on a state visit to the USA at the invitation of President Joe Biden. 

Prime Minister joined celebrations of the International Day of Yoga at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on June 21.