Take up Koh-i-Noor issue during India visit, Cameron told

Last Updated 24 July 2010, 13:23 IST

The Koh-i-Noor was brought to England from India where it had been in the possession of a long succession of maharajahs.

The priceless diamond was taken to England in 1849 following the defeat of the ruler of the Punjab region, Dhulip Singh and the annexation of the Punjab.

As part of the Treaty of Lahore settlement, the gem was surrendered to Queen Victoria.
Since Indian independence, there have been ongoing requests for the return of the gem to what all Indians consider its home in India.

Vaz, the longest serving MP of British Asian descent in the House of Commons said, "I believe that this is the perfect opportunity for the Prime Minister to discuss the issue of the Koh-i-Noor.

It would be very fitting for the Koh-i-Noor to return to the country in which it was mined so soon after the diamond jubilee of the Indian Republic and 161 years after its removal from India".

He added, "In this new era of partnership and on this important visit of the Prime Minister as well as many senior Cabinet Ministers, this will certainly convey a new age of Indo-British relations.

The Prime Minister will certainly win the hearts of all Indians if he is prepared to discuss the display of the Koh-i-Noor in India itself, and possibly even its permanent return".
Cameron is scheduled to make a high profile visit to India next week as part of the coalition government's commitment to forge a 'new special relationship' with India.

The Kohinoor was last worn in public by the late Queen Mother and last seen set inside the Maltese Cross on the crown placed on top of the coffin at her funeral.

The British government has rejected the demand for the return of the diamond saying it was "legitimately acquired".

The government cited the British Museum Act 1963 to assert that it prevents the government from giving back the diamond.

Cameron is scheduled to pay a two-day official visit to India from next Wednesday.

(Published 24 July 2010, 13:23 IST)

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