07/06/2016 1:41 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

US Returns Precious Indian Artefacts To PM Modi

Vikas Swarup/Twitter

The United States has returned over 200 pieces of rare artefacts to India, coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the country.

The artefacts, which range from an idol of the Hindu god Ganesha to a figure of the Jain deity Bahubali, were reportedly stolen from museums and temples over the years and then smuggled into the US, says an India Today article.

Expressing his gratitude at the return of the ancient treasures, the Prime Minister told IANS: "We are very grateful to the government of the US and the President for returning a part of our culture. This heritage inspires us for the future. Usually it's the present that brings nations together, but sometimes it's the heritage that brings two nations closer. Over the past two years, various countries have endeavoured to return India's stolen cultural heritage."

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted:

Prime Minister Modi has a packed schedule in the US, which includes an address to a joint session of the US Congress, making him the fifth Indian Prime Minister to address such a session. This is the Prime Minister's fourth visit to the US.