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American envoy inaugurates Tawang Festival

In a move that could upset China, the US Ambassador to India on Monday inaugurated the Tawang Festival in Arunachal Pradesh, becoming the second US envoy to visit the festival held in an area China claims to be part of South Tibet

US Ambassador to India Kenneth Ian Juster (right) and Arunchal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu at the Tawang Festival on Monday.
US Ambassador to India Kenneth Ian Juster (right) and Arunchal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu at the Tawang Festival on Monday.(HT Photo)

US Ambassador to India Kenneth Ian Juster on Monday inaugurated the four-day Tawang Festival in Arunachal Pradesh, chief minister Pema Khandu tweeted.

He became the second US envoy to visit the festival held in an area China claims to be part of South Tibet.

Ambassador Juster thanked the people for the exceptional hospitality and added that he was mesmerized by the people of the area, their dresses and traditions.

The Tawang Festival is an annual event, which is in its seventh edition this year, and showcases the state’s rich cultural tradition and adventure potential in order to boost tourism.

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In 2016, the then US Ambassador to India Richard Rahul Verma had visited the same festival leading Beijing to oppose the trip while New Delhi termed it as routine.

At the inauguration, Juster informed the gathering about US funding in the health sector in Arunachal Pradesh that have helped modernize hospitals and health facility centres in Namsai and Pasighat.

In his address, Chief Minister Pema Khandu stated that Arunachal Pradesh was fortunate to have hosted two US Ambassadors within a span of three years.

Khandu, who was also the chief minister when Verma visited in 2016, sought support of the US embassy to attract investment to Arunachal Pradesh in tourism, agriculture, horticulture and hydropower sectors.

The CM informed about the work the Defence POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), a US agency which traces details of nearly 79,000 US soldiers, who served in the Second world War and were unaccounted for, was doing in the Northeastern state.

“Until now 20 aircraft have been identified and remains and personal belongings of five martyrs have been recovered and sent to families. A Hump museum is under construction and scheduled for inauguration in March 2020,” said Khandu.

The Hump, named by Allied pilots during the WWII, comprises parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Tibet and Myanmar, where nearly 650 aircrafts crashed during that war due to difficult flying conditions. Eighty one aircraft went missing in the region at that time.

Khandu also said that in the past three years only 336 US tourists visited Arunachal Pradesh and sought the embassy’s help to increase it 10 fold in the next two years.

Union minister for sports and youth affairs Kiren Rijiju, who is a Lok Sabha member from the state, lauded the Arunachal Pradesh government for successfully hosting the festival over the past years.

Art & Culture

Manipur in festive mood on occassion of ‘Ningol Chakouba’

Imphal : Locals of Imphal thronged the markets ahead of the festival of Ningol Chakouba celebrated by people of Manipur. On this festival, married daughters are invited to parental house for a grand feast. The word ‘Ningol’ means daughter and ‘Chakouba’ means feast. The festival reinforces the bond that exists between siblings and parents. The Ningol Chakouba Festival is celebrated on the second day of the New Moon in the Manipuri month of Hiyangei which is November.

Manipur is a land of merriment, fun and caper which goes on throughout the year. Manipur is always bustling with the series of numerous festivals. The festivals of Manipur project their cultural, social and religious ambitions. The Ningol Chakouba Festival is a very popular social festival of the Meiteis or the Vaishnavites where the married women (Ningol) are invited (Chakouba) to their parent’s house.

The Ningol Chakouba Festival is an outstanding social festival of the Meiteis, when the married women of the family, who were married off to distant places, come to their parental house along with their children and is served with a lavish and extensive meal to enjoy. This festival is a form of a family get-together in order to revive the family affection. In the present times this festival is observed by the Pangals or the Manipuri Muslims to some extent.


Art & Culture

Dancing for the devout in Himalayas

by Askari Jaffer

Rishikesh International Pyramid Meditation Centre celebrated Buddha Purnima with a cultural festival at Rishikesh-Badrinath and Kedarnath, and they invited Srivari Padalu Dance Academy based out of West Marredpally, Secunderabad to perform for the event. Rishikesh International Pyramid Meditation Centre celebrated Buddha Purnima with a cultural festival at Rishikesh-Badrinath and Kedarnath, and they invited Srivari Padalu Dance Academy based out of West Marredpally, Secunderabad to perform for the event. The team from the academy started their journey to perform amidst the sacred Himalayas on May 12 towards Rishikesh and reached there the next day. The Beautiful Ganga Harathi at the Triveni Sangamam was followed by the dance performance, which was viewed by lakhs of pilgrims there. Also Read – Man held for sexually assaulting minor girl in Hyderabad Advertise With Us They started with ‘Pushpanjali’, a salutation to the lord of dance Nataraja, the Guru, the musicians and the audience. ‘Pushpanjali’ in Amruthavarshini ragam, Adi talam, was sung by TV Srinivas, and was composed by Bangalore T Srinivas. The dance was choreographed by Rama Devi Nalla. The second performance was ‘Maha Ganesha Pancharatnam’ which is a sloka, composed by Adi Sankara in the 8th Century. It is addressing Lord Ganesha, who is also known as the destroyer of obstacles. ‘Maha Ganesha Pancharatnam’ was presented in Ragmalika ragam, Adi talam. Also Read – Hyderabad police arrest five for looting commuters Advertise With Us This was followed by ‘Jathiswaram’, a pure dance presentation, devoid of any abhinaya (emotions), in which, intricate sequences are fused with repetitive musical notes. The dance deals with the execution of adavus (basic steps) and mudras (hand gestures). The piece was presented in Saveri ragam, Adi talam. The last piece for the day was ‘Sree Mahisasura Mardhini Stotram’- a popular devotional stotra of Goddess Durga written by Guru Adi Sankaracharya. Advertise With Us On 14 May, the group started off to Badrinath Temple, which was a difficult ghat road journey of 13 hours. The temperature was -2 to -8 degrees. The strenuous journey was followed by a performance (on May 15) in the presence of lakhs of pilgrims. It was like Lord Shiva gave them the energy to perform in that cooled. “During the performance we did not experience the extreme cold climate, but immediately after the program was finished, we started to shiver and felt the energy given to us for the performance by the Great Lord Shiva present there. The temple CEO then presented us the mementos and the Badrinath prasad. He then personally took us all for the special darshans of the Lord. The extraordinary feeling, we got by performing in the sacred place will remain special in our lives,” says Rama Devi. At Badrinath Temple they performed ‘Shiva Thandavam’. It is described as a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. While the Rudra Tandava depicts his violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself; the Ananda Tandava depicts him enjoying. In Shaiva Siddhanta tradition, Shiva as Nataraja is considered the supreme lord of dance. Ramadevi’s students Simritha, Aakruthi and Kaavya Sri performed the dance. On May 16 the group was scheduled to perform at Kedarnath, but extreme colk climate prevented them. However, it was a great experience shares Rama Devi, “The three programs were organised by Pyramid Yoga & Dance Academy – PYDA International, Vishakhapatnam CEO Padma garu, and we are very thankful to her for giving us this wonderful opportunity.”

 Hans News Service

Art & Culture

What’s brewing up the Himalayas

Communities in the Himalayan region prepare an intoxicant as part of their prayer ritual

For the Himalayan folk, their drinking sessions are as important as their daily prayers. This spirited ritual always begins by offering a few drops of their drink to their Gods and ancestors.

A lot of precision and patience, care and a keen sense of timing go into the preparation of their blends. It takes several months of drying, smoking, fermenting and filtering before it is poured into a bamboo shoot, sipped with a bamboo pipe or into a simple glass to be consumed. Served at room temperature, these brews leave behind sweet, malty and spicy memories on the palate.

Every community in the Himalayan region has its own unique intoxicant, a concoction made from fermented rice, barley or millet, sometimes mixed with herbs and sometimes not. The Adis of Arunachal Pradesh relish their Apong, a local rice beer with different flavours. The Chang, ‘hot beer’ made by fermenting millet, using yeast is Sikkim’s heartbeat.

‘Soor’, the most celebrated elixir, overflows at every communal gathering of the Jaunsaris and the Parvatis of the Tons Valley in Uttarakhand. It is made from keem, a cake prepared from the roots, leaves and flowers of the local florae combined with fruit pulp, barley or finger millets and kept aside to ferment after which the distilled ‘soor’ is collected in a pot. For the Himachali, it is ‘Lugdi,’ a very crude local beer that is made from sour barley or rice. The sweet-sour frothy beer ‘Chhang’ presides over every function in Ladakh and is famous among the people of Sikkim too.

Dried wild apricots and apples are used in the transparent ‘Chulli,’ very popular among the Kinnauris. The enophiles of the Ribbu region of Kinnaur adore their ‘Anguri’ a potent wine made from red and green grapes.

Araq is a favourite among the simple mountain people of the Spithi Valley. The boiled rice or barley, stored in huge containers for many months is mixed with water. After another month, some of this Chang is taken in a big vessel inside which another vessel is placed to collect the araq through a process of condensation. It is covered with yet another hollow vessel, which is filled with chunks of ice and kept over a low flame for nearly three hours.

The alcoholic beverages of the Himalaya have medicinal properties as well. Besides keeping the body warm, they are a great cure for cold related ailments and fever.

by J. Ramanan and Vrinda Ramanan

The writers are ace photographers known for their travelogues,

 The Hindu

Art & Culture

Preserving Cultural Heritage: Hometown of Tibetan incense sees transformation

Located on the north shore of Yarlung Zangbo River in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, Toinba township, Nyemo County is the hometown of Tibetan incense.

Toinba is the birthplace of Thumi Sambhota, who is not only the inventor of the Tibetan character but also the founder of the Tibetan incense. Toinba is famous for incense making, which has a history of more than 1,300 years. Tibetan incense is an important representation of Tibetan culture.

Nyemo’s Tibetan incense is used mainly at sacrificial ceremonies and also for mediation and relaxation. The incense is complicatedly blended with more than 30 herbs, including saffron, sandalwood, Chinese usnea and borneol.

Dhongrub is a local Tibetan incense artisan who has been making incense for more than forty years. The incense artisanship of Dhongrub’s family has passed down through four generations. Making Tibetan incense has brought Dhongrub income and other benefits.

Dhongrub is making Tibetan incense sticks. /Screenshot

“My eldest daughter successfully found a job after graduating from college and my youngest daughter is going to the college this year. These are the rewards of the Tibetan incense,” said Dhongrub. His youngest daughter also helps promote Tibetan incense online, letting more people know about its origin and history. 

A client wants to buy some Tibetan incense from Dhongrub. /Screenshot

As Dhongrub’s Tibetan incense business grows, his incense products have been sold inside and outside of Tibet. Since 2006, Nyemo County has promoted Tibetan incense as a main tourist souvenir and set up incense-themed tourism attractions. To help with poverty alleviation, the local government also established a Tibetan incense cooperative where Dhongrub teaches villagers incense artisanship. 

Dhongrub teaches villagers how to make Tibetan incense at the cooperative in Toinba township. /Screenshot 

“Tibetan incense has deeply influenced me, so it became an essential part of my life. I hope to carry on the traditional artisanship of Tibetan incense and develop it so that more and more people will know about Nyemo’s Tibetan incense,” said Dhongrub.     

Art & Culture

2019 Oscars gone to …

The 91st Academy Awards, commonly referred to as The Oscars and presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences(AMPAS), honored the best films of 2018. The ceremony was held on February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. AMPAS presented Academy Awards in 24 categories. The ceremony was televised in the United States by American Broadcasting Company (ABC) and produced by Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, with Weiss also serving as director.[3] It was the first ceremony in three decades, since the 61st Academy Awards in 1989, to be conducted with no host.

In related events, the Academy held its 10th Annual Governors Awards ceremony at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center on November 18, 2018.[4] The Academy Scientific and Technical Awards were presented by host actor David Oyelowo on February 9, 2019, in a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.[5]

Green Book won three awards, including Best Picture, and Bohemian Rhapsody won four awards, the most for the ceremony, including Best Actor for Rami Malek‘s portrayal of Freddie MercuryRoma and Black Panther also received three awards, with the former winning Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón and becoming the first Mexican submission to win Best Foreign Language FilmOlivia Colman was awarded Best Actress for portraying Anne, Queen of Great Britain, in The Favourite.[6] With U.S. viewership of 29.6 million, it marked a 12% increase over the 2018 ceremony, but still ranks among the least-watched shows in Oscar history.[7][8][9]

Winners and nominees

The nominees for the 91st Academy Awards were announced on January 22, 2019, at 5:20 a.m. PST (13:20 UTC), at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by actors Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross.[10][11]


Alfonso Cuarón, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film winner

Rami Malek, Best Actor winner

Photo of Olivia Colman in 2014.

Olivia Colman, Best Actress winner

Photo of Mahershala Ali in 2016.

Mahershala Ali, Best Supporting Actor winner

Photo of Regina King in 2010.

Regina King, Best Supporting Actress winner

Photo of Peter Farrelly in 2009.

Peter Farrelly, Best Original Screenplay co-winner

Photo of Spike Lee in 2018.

Spike Lee, Best Adapted Screenplay co-winner

Photo of Lady Gaga in 2018.

Lady Gaga, Best Original Song co-winner

Photo of Ruth E. Carter in 2018.

Ruth E. Carter, Best Costume Design winner

Photo of John Ottman in 2011.

John Ottman, Best Film Editing winner


Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double dagger ().[12]

Best PictureGreen Book – Jim BurkeCharles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, and Nick VallelongaBlack Panther – Kevin FeigeBlacKkKlansman – Sean McKittrickJason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele, and Spike LeeBohemian Rhapsody – Graham KingThe Favourite – Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, and Yorgos LanthimosRoma – Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso CuarónA Star Is Born – Bill GerberBradley Cooper, and Lynette Howell TaylorVice – Dede GardnerJeremy KleinerAdam McKay, and Kevin J. MessickBest DirectorAlfonso Cuarón – RomaYorgos Lanthimos – The FavouriteSpike Lee – BlacKkKlansmanAdam McKay – VicePaweł Pawlikowski – Cold War
Best ActorRami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody as Freddie MercuryChristian Bale – Vice as Dick CheneyBradley Cooper – A Star Is Born as Jackson “Jack” MaineWillem Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate as Vincent van GoghViggo Mortensen – Green Book as Frank “Tony Lip” VallelongaBest ActressOlivia Colman – The Favourite as Anne, Queen of Great BritainYalitza Aparicio – Roma as Cleodegaria “Cleo” GutiérrezGlenn Close – The Wife as Joan CastlemanLady Gaga – A Star Is Born as Ally MaineMelissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Lee Israel
Best Supporting ActorMahershala Ali – Green Book as Don ShirleyAdam Driver – BlacKkKlansman as Philip “Flip” ZimmermanSam Elliott – A Star Is Born as Bobby MaineRichard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Jack HockSam Rockwell – Vice as George W. BushBest Supporting ActressRegina King – If Beale Street Could Talk as Sharon RiversAmy Adams – Vice as Lynne CheneyMarina de Tavira – Roma as SofíaEmma Stone – The Favourite as Abigail MashamRachel Weisz – The Favourite as Sarah Churchill
Best Original ScreenplayGreen Book – Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter FarrellyThe Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamaraFirst Reformed – Paul SchraderRoma – Alfonso CuarónVice – Adam McKayBest Adapted ScreenplayBlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee (based on the book by Ron Stallworth)The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (based on the short stories All Gold Canyon by Jack London and The Gal Who Got Rattled by Stewart Edward White)Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty(based on the book by Lee Israel)If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins (based on the book by James Baldwin)A Star Is Born – Eric RothBradley Cooper, and Will Fetters (based on the 1954 screenplay by Moss Hart and the 1976 screenplay by Joan DidionJohn Gregory Dunne, and Frank Pierson; based on a story by Robert Carson and William A. Wellman)
Best Animated Feature FilmSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Bob PersichettiPeter RamseyRodney RothmanPhil Lord, and Christopher MillerIncredibles 2 – Brad BirdJohn Walker, and Nicole Paradis GrindleIsle of Dogs – Wes AndersonScott RudinSteven Rales, and Jeremy DawsonMirai – Mamoru Hosoda and Yūichirō SaitōRalph Breaks the Internet – Rich MoorePhil Johnston, and Clark SpencerBest Foreign Language FilmRoma (Mexico) in Spanish and Mixtec – Alfonso CuarónCapernaum (Lebanon) in Arabic – Nadine LabakiCold War (Poland) in Polish and French – Paweł PawlikowskiNever Look Away (Germany) in German – Florian Henckel von DonnersmarckShoplifters (Japan) in Japanese – Hirokazu Kore-eda
Best Documentary – FeatureFree Solo – Elizabeth Chai VasarhelyiJimmy Chin, Evan Hayes, and Shannon DillHale County This Morning, This Evening – RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, and Su KimMinding the Gap – Bing Liu and Diane QuonOf Fathers and Sons – Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, and Tobias N. SiebertRBG – Betsy West and Julie CohenBest Documentary – Short SubjectPeriod. End of Sentence. – Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa BertonBlack Sheep – Ed Perkins and Jonathan ChinnEnd Game – Rob Epstein and Jeffrey FriedmanLifeboat – Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn MooserA Night at the Garden – Marshall Curry
Best Live Action Short FilmSkin – Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray NewmanDetainment – Vincent Lambe and Darren MahonFauve – Jérémy Comte and Maria Gracia TurgeonMarguerite – Marianne Farley and Marie-Hélène PanissetMother – Rodrigo Sorogoyen and María del Puy AlvaradoBest Animated Short FilmBao – Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-CobbAnimal Behaviour – Alison Snowden and David FineLate Afternoon – Louise Bagnall and Nuria González BlancoOne Small Step – Andrew Chesworth and Bobby PontillasWeekends – Trevor Jimenez
Best Original ScoreBlack Panther – Ludwig GöranssonBlacKkKlansman – Terence BlanchardIf Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas BritellIsle of Dogs – Alexandre DesplatMary Poppins Returns – Marc ShaimanBest Original SongShallow” from A Star Is Born – Lady GagaMark RonsonAnthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt (music and lyrics)All the Stars” from Black Panther – Mark SpearsKendrick Lamar Duckworth, and Anthony Tiffith (music); Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith, and Solána Rowe (lyrics)”I’ll Fight” from RBG – Diane Warren (music and lyrics)”The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns – Marc Shaiman (music); Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (lyrics)”When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – David Rawlings and Gillian Welch (music and lyrics)
Best Sound EditingBohemian Rhapsody – John Warhurst and Nina HartstoneBlack Panther – Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve BoeddekerFirst Man – Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou MorganA Quiet Place – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik AadahlRoma – Sergio Díaz and Skip LievsayBest Sound Mi

Courtesy; Wikipedia

Art & Culture

Copenhagen review – Michael Frayn’s masterwork still blazes with mystery

Faith in science … Charles Edwards, Patricia Hodge and Paul Jesson in Copenhagen. Photograph: Conrad Blakemore

History, morality and quantum mechanics collide in Michael Blakemore’s storming revival of a modern classic

More information has come to light, since Michael Frayn’s play premiered in 1998, about its subject: the ruptured friendship between the German atomic physicist Werner Heisenberg, and his former mentor, Niels Bohr, after their meeting in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen in 1941. Yet the new material does nothing to alter the mind-expanding impact of a play that is about life’s cherishable value and insoluble mystery.

Frayn offers us several alternative versions of what might have happened when the two men met under the watchful eye of Bohr’s wife, Margrethe. But one of the beauties of the play is that, reinforcing a rule of quantum mechanics, it seems to change depending on how it is observed. At different times, it has seemed to me about the moral dilemma of the nuclear physicist, and the motives for Heisenberg’s visit – whether he was seeking absolution or information from his spiritual father.

While those ideas are still there, I was more struck this time by the Brechtian paradox at the heart of the play: that the vilified Heisenberg, by his failure to make the crucial calculation that would have enabled the Germans to develop the atomic bomb, never caused a single death; while the virtuous Bohr, by going on to work at Los Alamos, contributed to a hundred thousand.

Michael Blakemore’s illuminating production – designed, as in 1998, by Peter J Davison and lit by Mark Henderson – treats the stage as a space for the collision of human particles.

Charles Edwards is outstanding as Heisenberg in that he combines a Hamlet-like uncertainty about his own course of action with the physicist’s faith in intellectual disciplines: at one point he cries “mathematics is sense” with the fervour of an ardent rationalist. Patricia Hodge captures perfectly the wary scepticism of Margrethe, who sees the personal motives underlying scientific abstractions. However, while conveying Bohr’s paternal authority and impatience, Paul Jesson gave a rather blurred first-night performance and even rushed though vital speeches explaining Schrödinger’s wave function and uranium 235. Even if the science wasn’t as clear as it could be, it remains a remarkable play that has the rare capacity to make ideas manifest.

  • At Chichester Festival theatre until 22 September.

Michael Billington @billicritic

Art & Culture

UK Returns Indian Buddha Statue

The Buddha, a bronze statue with silver inlay, is one of 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India site museum in Nalanda.

London: A 12th century bronze Buddha statue stolen from a museum at Nalanda in Bihar nearly 60 years ago was returned to India today by the London’s Metropolitan Police as part of a ceremony here to mark India’s Independence Day.

The bronze statue with silver inlay is one of the 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site museum in Nalanda and changed several hands over the years before surfacing at a London auction.

Once the dealer and the owner were made aware the sculpture was the same one that had been stolen from India, the Metropolitan Police said they cooperated with the Met’s Art and Antiques Unit and agreed for the piece to be returned to India.

The statue was identified at a trade fair in March this year by Lynda Albertson of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA) and Vijay Kumar from the India Pride Project, who then alerted the police.

Scotland Yard returned the statue stolen to the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha, as part of a ceremony to mark Independence Day at India House in London today.

“I am delighted to return this piece of history. This is an excellent example of the results that can come with close cooperation between law enforcement, trade and scholars,” said Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart, who was accompanied by officials from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the handover ceremony.

“Although this was stolen over 50 years ago, this did not prevent the piece being recognised and the credit must go to the eagle eye informants who made us aware that the missing piece had been located after so many years,” she said.

Mr Sinha described the return of the “priceless Buddha” as a “wonderful gesture” and a particular honour given his own roots in Bihar.

“I hope it will now go back to where it originally belongs… On our Independence Day, it (return of the statue) highlights the multi-faceted cooperation between our two countries,” he said, after a Tricolour-hoisting ceremony to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day at the Indian High Commission in London.

Detective Constable Sophie Hayes of the Met’s Art and Antique Unit said it had been established that there was no criminality by the current owner or the dealer who had been offering the stolen statue for sale.

“Indeed, from the outset they have cooperated fully with the police to resolve this matter and they have made the decision to return the sculpture via the police,” Ms Hayes said.

“We are delighted to be able to facilitate the return of this important piece of cultural heritage to India,” she added.

The Art and Antiques Unit was founded 50 years ago and is one of the oldest specialist units in the Metropolitan Police Service. The unit prides itself on a “long history of reuniting owners with their stolen property”.

Michael Ellis, UK Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: “As we celebrate India’s Independence Day, I am proud to highlight the latest example of the UK’s cultural diplomacy in action. Thanks to the work of the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit, we are one of the first countries to recover one of the 14 elusive Buddha statues stolen from Nalanda nearly 60 years ago.”