ANI Photo | Indian consulate in New York holds repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by US

The Indian consulate in New York on Monday held a repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by the US. The antiquities will soon be transported to India, according to a release issued by the Consulate General of India in New York.
indian consulate in new york holds repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by us 1 – The News Mill
indian consulate in new york holds repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by us 2 – The News Mill
The development comes follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US in June 2023.
Indian Ambassador to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu while speaking on the occasion, thanked the US side, in particular Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg and his Anti-Trafficking Unit and the Homeland Security Investigation team for their stellar cooperation and support. 
He further noted that for the people of India, these were not just pieces of art but part of their living heritage and culture.    
Sandhu on Monday tweeted: “105 Indian antiquities to return home! Delighted to attend a ceremony in #NewYork this morning, marking the restitution of artefacts following PM @narendramodi’s State Visit. Appreciate the cooperation extended in protection & exchange of cultural property.”
The repatriation ceremony was attended by senior officials from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Homeland Security Investigation team, as per the official release.
indian consulate in new york holds repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by us 3 – The News Mill
During PM Modi’s state visit, India, the US, agreed to work on a Cultural Property Agreement that would help prevent the illegal trafficking of cultural artefacts. Such an understanding will add further value to the dynamic bilateral collaboration between Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies of the two countries.
The 105 artefacts represent a wide geographical spread in terms of their origin in India, with 47 from Eastern India, 27 from Southern India, 22 from Central India, six from Northern India and three from Western India. 
The artefacts which span from 2nd-3rd century CE to 18th-19th century CE, are made of terracotta, stone, metal and wood. Around 50 artefacts relate to religious subjects [Hinduism, Jainism and Islam] and the rest are of cultural significance.
indian consulate in new york holds repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by us 4 – The News Mill
indian consulate in new york holds repatriation ceremony for 105 trafficked antiquities handed over by us 5 – The News Mill
The Indian government has been making serious efforts to bring back stolen Indian antiquities, the living symbols of rich Indian heritage and culture, from abroad.      
In recent years, there has been close cooperation between India, the US on the restitution of antiquities. During PM’s 2016 visit to the US, 16 antiques were handed over by the US side.
Similarly, in 2021, the US government handed over 157 artefacts which returned to India following the visit of the PM to the US in September 2021. With these 105 antiquities, the US side has handed over a total of 278 cultural artefacts to India since 2016, as per the release.
Meanwhile, it was reported that PM Modi’s first state visit to the United States has been an instant hit.
The India-US joint statement sums up the sentiments and intent of both nations by stating that “Our cooperation will serve the global good as we work through a range of multilateral and regional groupings – particularly the Quad- to contribute toward a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo- Pacific. No corner of human enterprise is untouched by the partnership between our two great countries, which spans the seas to the stars”.

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