The written reply came amid reports that the US had handed back over 200 cultural artifacts estimated at USD 100 million to India at a ceremony attended by the Prime Minister at Washington DC in June.
“US authorities have returned only eight antiquities to the Prime Minister of India during his visit to the US,” Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply.
On a query regarding the value of the returned antiquities in international market, he said, “It is not the mandate of Archaeological Survey of India to determine the market value of antiquities.”
He said these antiquities, including a bronze image of Ganesha, were returned voluntarily.
Earlier, during the PM’s visit to the US in June, reports surfaced the over 200 cultural artifacts estimated were returned to India at a ceremony in Washington DC. It was reported that 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. “For some, these artifacts may be measured in monetary terms but for us this is beyond that. It’s a part of our culture and heritage,” the Prime Minister had said a ceremony held at the Blair House.