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China Daily Website

UK declines to return Kohinoor diamond to India

Updated: 2013-02-22 09:49
( Xinhua)

NEW DELHI - Britain has made it clear that it will not return to India the 105-carat Kohinoor diamond currently set into the crown of Queen Elizabeth II and on display at Tower of London.

"I certainly don't believe in 'returnism', as it were. I don't think that's sensible. I don't think that's the right approach," British Prime Minister David Cameron told the media in the northern Indian state of Punjab's Amritsar town on Wednesday, as he wrapped up his three-day visit to this country to boost trade ties.

He added, "The right answer is for the British Museum and other cultural institutions to do exactly what they do, which is to link up with other institutions around the world to make sure that the things which we have and look after so well are properly shared with people around the world."

The Kohinoor, believed to have originated in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, had belonged to various Hindu, Rajput, Mughal, Iranian, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers who fought bitterly over the stone and seized it as a spoil of war time and time again.

It was finally confiscated from Duleep Singh in 1850 by the British East India Company in the colonial era and subsequently became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877.

Many Indian legendary freedom fighters had earlier called for the diamond to be returned to India.