The third G20 Culture Group (CWG) meet began in Karnataka state’s Hampi on Sunday. The G20 Culture Group Meet would be hosted by the ancient city dotted with numerous temple complexes from the Vijayanagara Empire from July 9 to 12.
It has emerged that the meeting, named ‘Protection and Restitution of Cultural Property’ will be attended by delegates from G20 members, guest nations and several international organisations.
“The UNESCO convention of 1970 enjoins on signatory parties to voluntarily return those artefacts or antiquities belonging to other countries which have been taken there because of colonial plunder, or because of post-colonial misappropriation like smuggling, theft etc”, Govind Mohan, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, said, according to an official release.
The Cultural Property Agreement being negotiated between India and US will enable the US authorities to intercept smuggled goods and artefacts and return them expeditiously, he said, adding, “Around 150 artefacts are expected to return from the US in the next three to six months.”
India is focused on four priorities for the G20 Culture Group meet.
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“The four priority areas are — 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,” Govind Mohan added.
“Focus is on coming out with a joint statement along with other member countries for the Culture Ministerial Meeting to be held in August at Varanasi,” he added.
Last month, during his state visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed satisfaction that the United States was going to return more than 100 Indian antiquities that had been “stolen from us”.
“I am happy that the American government has decided to return more than 100 Indian antiquities that had been stolen from us. These antiquities may have gotten to the international market in different ways – some legal, some illegal. I express my gratitude to the American government for returning these items,” Modi said during an interaction with members of the Indian-American community at the Ronald Reagan Centre in Washington DC.