08 June 2016 Current Affairs: The US has returned to India over 200 stolen cultural artifacts , some dating back 2,000 years, estimated at $100 million, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing the cultural heritage as a great binding force in bilateral relationships.
Usually relationship between the countries of the world are very often covered by the present. It is 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 .Both governments and law enforcement agencies of these countries now have become more alert on trafficking of cultural artifacts and are not only working to prevent it but also to send it back to the place of its origin .
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 .Referring to the Indus Valley civilisation, he said tourists are now flocking to India to see towns dating back 5,000 years.
Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh said on Monday 12 artifacts have been returned and process has begun for the transfer of rest of the treasured artifacts. Items returned included religious statues, bronzes and terra-cotta pieces, some dating back 2,000 years, looted from some of India's most treasured religious sites.
Among the pieces returned is a statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar, a Hindu mystic and poet from the Chola period (circa 850 AD to 1250 AD) stolen from the Sivan Temple in Chennai, which is valued at $1.5 million. Also included in the collection is a bronze sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesh estimated to be 1,000-year-old.
The artifacts that speak about India's astounding history and beautiful culture are beginning their journey home, said US Attorney General Loretta E Lynch.
The majority of the pieces repatriated in the ceremony were seized during Operation Hidden Idol, an investigation that began in 2007 after Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents received a tip about a shipment of seven crates destined for the US manifested as marble garden table sets.
Artifacts were also found in the Honolulu Museum and Peabody Essex, who promptly partnered with HSI to surrender illicit cultural property stemming from Kapoor. HSI special agents have executed a series of search warrants targeting Kapoor's New York City gallery, along with warehouses and storage facilities linked to the dealer.