Tony Abbott presents Nehru jacket to Modi

Tony Abbott presents Nehru jacket to Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday received a special gift from his Aussie counterpart Tonny Abbott – a “Nehru jacket” made of the finest Australian wool.

Abbott also brought a specially woven woollen shawl for Modi’s mother Hiraben. Modi in turn gifted Abbott a copy of the Bhagwat Gita.

The Australian prime minister also brought with him two antique statues, which were stolen from India and found their way to the Australian National Art Gallery in Canberra and Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.

“The moment we had conveyed our request for the return of these statues, his government took this decision with great speed. Prime Minister Abbott and the people of Australia have shown enormous respect and regard not only for our ancient treasure, but also for our cultural heritage,” Modi said, while addressing mediapersons jointly with Abbott at Hyderabad House here.

Abbott brought the jacket all the way from Canberra to New Delhi and gifted it to Modi, when the two leaders met in New Delhi on Friday.

Abbott is the first state guest of the NDA government, although leaders of the Saarc countries briefly visited New Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony Narendra Modi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26. The charcoal jacket Abbott gifted Modi is made of 100 per cent Australian Wollmark Wool. Modi also received from his guest a cream ‘kurta’ made from an Australian Woolmark blend of 50 per cent wool and 50 per cent cotton.

The statues Abbott brought with him are of Lord Shiva (Nataraja) and Ardhnariswara,  dating back to 11th and 12th century AD and were allegedly stolen from Tamil Nadu by antique smuggler Subhash Kapoor, who was arrested in Germany in 2012 and was later extradited to India. 

The Ministry of External Affairs had in March this year made a formal proposal to the Australian Department of Attorney General on bringing back the idols to India.

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