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Modi in US, attends event for return of Indian idols

"Today, we begin the process of returning more than 200 stolen cultural objects back to India," US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, according to a tweet by Swarup

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a function in US during which Indian idols lying in the US have been returned to India.

“Restoring India’s cultural heritage: PM @narendramodi attends ceremony for return of idols with US Attorney General,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted on Tuesday, as Modi attended the event.

“Today, we begin the process of returning more than 200 stolen cultural objects back to India,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, according to a tweet by Swarup.

Modi thanked US President Barack Obama for returning the Indian idols.

“I am grateful to President Obama for returning to us these treasures which join us to our past,” the prime minister said.

“For some, these artefacts may be measured in monetary terms but for us this is beyond that. It’s a part of our culture and heritage,” Modi said.

He arrived in the US from Switzerland on the fourth leg of his five-nation tour.

This is Modi’s second bilateral visit to the US after his trip in September, 2014.

Modi is visiting the US at the invitation of President Barack Obama, who in the last year of his presidency is inviting a few world leaders with whom he shared a “close and productive working relationship”.

On Tuesday, Obama will host Modi for a lunch at the White House after which the Prime Minister will attend a meeting of US business leaders and address the US-India Business Council.

This will be the seventh meeting between Modi and Obama as Prime Minister and President.

The highlight of Modi’s visit will be his address to a joint sitting of the US Congress on Wednesday.

Later on Wednesday, he will leave for Mexico on the fifth and final leg of his five-nation tour.

Earlier on Monday, Modi and Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann headed delegation level talks in Geneva during which the issues of black money and India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) figured.

Switzerland extended support for India’s membership in the group.

Modi also held a meeting with Swiss business leaders and pitched India as an exciting investment destination to them.

Prior to Switzerland, Prime Minister Modi visited Afghanistan and Qatar.

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