The UK's new minister for Asia and the Pacific has finally settled the issue of India's claim over the Kohinoor diamond. The Kohinoor was taken by the East India Company from Punjab in 1849, during British rule in India, and now forms part of the British Crown Jewels.
During a three-day visit to India, Alok Sharma has said that there is no legal ground for India's claims and that the diamond will stay where it is. Sharma was appointed as UK's Asia and Pacific Minister by new British Prime Minister Theresa May and his visit to India is the first high-level meeting between the two countries since the UK's new government took over.
Sharma said: "It is the UK government's view that there isn't any legal ground for restitution of the diamond."
India has long since attempted to reclaim the Kohinoor diamond from the British, along with other treasures that were taken from the country during the British Empire. In November, a group of Bollywood stars and Indian businessmen started the process of carrying out legal proceedings in London's High Court to demand the return of the diamond to India, while Labour MP Keith Vaz has also requested the diamond be returned.
However, there were some among the UK's Indian community who welcomed the decision not to return the Kohinoor to India. British-Sikhs wrote a letter to Sharma following his comments, expressing their appreciation to the UK minister for Asia, stating that the diamond should stay where it was.
Bhai Amrikh Singh, chair of the Sikh Federation UK, wrote in the letter: "We were pleased to read your statement in your current trip to India in relation to the Kohinoor diamond. As we have previously stated and you were right to point out, India has no legal claim to the Kohinoor."
Singh went on to note that, by the time the Punjab region was annexed by the British in March 1894, Anglo-Sikh treaties already existed. He said that his meant the future of the Kohinoor diamond was "a matter between Britain and the international Sikh community".