The National Gallery of Australia will return 14 artworks to the Indian government, including at least six which are believed to have been stolen or exported illegally.
The Canberra gallery identified the works, which include sculptures, photographs and a scroll, as either stolen, looted or of unknown origin.
The collection comprises largely of 'religious and cultural artefacts' worth a total of about $2.2 million, including some dating back to the 12th century.
NGA director Nick Mitzevich told AFP the works are set to be returned to the Indian government within months. "It's a relief that they can be returned to the Indian people, and it's a resolution for the National Gallery to close a very difficult chapter of our history," he said.
Thirteen of the objects are connected to dealer and alleged antiquities smuggler Subhash Kapoor, who was the subject of a massive US federal investigation called Operation Hidden Idol. He, however, has denied all charges.
The NGA has already returned several other works it had acquired through Kapoor, including a $5 million bronze statue of Hindu god Shiva that had been stolen from a Tamil Nadu temple.
Mitzevich said they had introduced guidelines to assess any legal and ethical issues with works it holds, and were investigating three other sculptures from its Asian art collection. "It's very much a live issue with galleries around the world. And we want to make sure that we can resolve these issues in a timely manner," he added.
Many of the antiquities Kapoor dealt in dated back to the 11th and 12th centuries when the Chola dynasty presided over a flourishing of Hindu art in Tamil Nadu.
Since his arrest in 2011, the US has also returned hundreds of artefacts to India.
Edited by Rupashree Ravi
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