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US to Return 150 Artifacts to India: Ministry of Culture G20 meeting

India's Ministry of Culture announces the expected return of 150 artifacts by the US, promoting cultural property protection and restitution.

US expected to return nearly 150 artifacts to India within 3 to 6 months after the G20 meeting in Karnataka’s Hampi


India’s Ministry of Culture has revealed that the United States is expected to return approximately 150 artifacts to India within the next 3 to 6 months. Govind Mohan, the secretary of the Ministry of Culture, made this announcement during the third G20 Culture Group (CWG) meet in Hampi, Karnataka. The ongoing meeting, held from July 9 to 12, has drawn participants from G20 member countries, guest nations, and various international organizations.

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UNESCO Convention: Cultural Restitution:

The theme of the event is “Protection and Restitution of Cultural Property.” Mohan highlighted the significance of the UNESCO convention of 1970, which urges signatory parties to voluntarily return artifacts and antiquities that were taken from other countries due to colonial plunder or post-colonial misappropriation, such as smuggling and theft. India aims for all G20 countries to become signatories to this convention, which would greatly benefit the nation.

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Bilateral Agreements: Artifact Return:

Mohan also mentioned India’s efforts to reach bilateral agreements with other countries in relation to the return of cultural property. He cited the recent Joint Statement during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States as evidence of progress. The Cultural Property Agreement being negotiated between India and the US will enable the interception and expedited return of smuggled goods and artifacts. As a result, it is anticipated that around 150 artifacts will be returned from the US in the coming months.

Global Collaboration: CWG Success:

The CWG meetings have previously taken place in Khajuraho and Bhubaneswar, with the ongoing third meeting in Hampi attracting participants from 50 G20 member countries, invitee countries, and seven multilateral organizations. In addition to these meetings, four expert-driven Global Thematic Webinars were successfully organized, with participation from all 29 countries and seven multilateral organizations.

Culture’s Key Priorities: CWG Consensus:

The primary focus of the 3rd CWG meeting is to achieve a consensus on recommendations and best practices related to the four priority areas outlined by the Culture Working Group. These priorities, part of the Culture Track during India’s G20 Presidency, include the protection and restitution of cultural property, harnessing living heritage for a sustainable future, promotion of cultural and creative industries and creative economy, and leveraging digital technologies for the protection and promotion of culture.

Culture Ministerial Meeting: Joint Statement:

The Ministry of Culture aims to release a joint statement with other member countries during the Culture Ministerial Meeting to be held in August in Varanasi. Joint Secretary Lily Pandeya, during a media briefing, highlighted that all 20 member countries of the G20, along with nine dialogue partners and seven international organizations, are participating in the third culture working group meeting. The objective is to reach a consensus and finalize the language of the culture ministerial declaration.

Pandeya also mentioned that a report of the global thematic webinars will be launched during the Culture Ministerial meeting in Varanasi on August 26. The ministry expects a robust declaration with action-oriented tangible outcomes to emerge from the meeting.

Embroidery exhibition sets record:

In addition to the discussions and meetings, the CWG aims to achieve a Guinness World Record by creating the largest display of Lambani embroidery patches. This exhibition, titled “Culture Unites All,” will feature around 1,300 Lambani embroidery patch works created by over 450 women artisans from the Lambani community associated with the Sandur Kushala Kala Kendra. The exhibition will be inaugurated by Prahlad Joshi, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal, and Mines.

Cultural experiences for delegates:

The delegates attending the meeting will have the opportunity to engage in various cultural experiences throughout their visit. These include visits to heritage sites such as the Vijaya Vittala Temple, the Royal Enclosure, and the Yeduru Basavanna complex of the Hampi Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, delegates will experience the famous Coracle Ride in the Tungabhadra River and participate in DIY activities like leather puppetry, Ganjifa artwork, Bidri artwork, and Kinhal craft. The visit will also feature cultural performances by the Bamboo Symphony band and other artists.

Advancing cultural collaboration for development:

The Culture Working Group’s inclusive process of in-depth discussions with delegates from G20 member countries, guest nations, and international organizations aims to reaffirm critical areas for collaborative action. The ultimate goal is to develop tangible recommendations and best practices for sustainable development in the realm of culture.

In summary, the Ministry of Culture has announced the expected return of nearly 150 artifacts from the US, highlighting the ongoing efforts to protect and restore cultural property. The third G20 Culture Group meeting in Hampi serves as a platform for discussions and collaboration among member countries, with a focus on achieving consensus and tangible outcomes. The exhibition of Lambani embroidery patches and the array of cultural experiences offered to delegates further enrich the meeting and underscore the theme of unity through culture.

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Muskan Jha

I am creative person with simple mind possibilities that may be useful in solving problems.
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