India is set to launch a major diplomatic campaign to recover thousands of artifacts, including one of the world’s largest diamonds, which Britain seized from the country during the colonial period.
According to the British newspaper “The Telegraph”, and was quoted by “Russia Today”, the support for the recovery of lost treasures in the days of the British Empire is said to come from the highest levels of Indian officials.
Reportedly, the campaign is also on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority list, with one source describing the initiative as a reckoning with the past.
Indian ministerial staff and diplomats are set to lead efforts to return the items, with Telegraph sources claiming that some officials consider artifacts taken during British colonial rule to be immorally stolen in the event of colonization.
The report says that the campaign to recover the artifacts may distort relations between the United Kingdom and India, which was described as the British crown jewel during the colonial era due to its vast resources and strategic location.
Indian diplomats in London are expected to submit formal applications to the individuals and institutions currently holding these items, and the process is set to begin this year.
The campaign will reportedly seek the return of the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond. This precious jewel, once owned by Indian rulers, but acquired by the British during the annexation of Punjab Province in 1849, is currently in the crown of the late mother of Queen Elizabeth II.
However, neither the tiara nor the diamond were used during the recent coronation of King Charles III after India’s ruling party warned London that doing so could bring back painful memories from the colonial past.
India has repeatedly demanded the UK to return the Koh-i-Noor since 1947 when it gained its independence, but without success. London insisted that the diamonds had been acquired under a valid treaty.
Meanwhile, British legislation prohibits British museums, which store thousands of other items removed from India, from disposing of their belongings except in a few special cases. However, in 2022 Glasgow Live Museums agreed to return seven stolen artefacts to India. , becoming the first British museum to take this step.