NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 26, 2021 (Indian Express): As many as 157 artifacts and antiquities were handed over by the United States during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country. The list has a diverse set of items — a 4.9 foot bas-relief panel of Revanta in sandstone made in the 10th century, a 3.4 inch tall bronze Nataraj figure from the 12th century, 56 terracotta pieces, several bronze figurines and copper objects, among others. The items, which were stolen or smuggled out of India over a period of time, mostly belong to the period between 11th and 14th centuries. The returned antiquities include an 18th-century sword in its sheath, with the inscription mentioning Guru Harigobind Singh in Persian.

During the meeting between Modi and US President Joe Biden, the two leaders also “committed to strengthen efforts to combat theft, illicit trade and trafficking of cultural objects”, it was announced. In 2019, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team had visited New York and identified close to a hundred of these arteifacts, seized in the US, as “original Indian antiquities of tremendous value”, known to be stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh and smuggled abroad. ASI ADG, Archaeology, Urmila Sant, who was part of the team, had told The Indian Express that they visited the US following a call from the office of Consulate General of India about the seized artefacts.