India says it is still determined to get back the Koh-i-Noor diamond even though it is presently on display as part of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
The country’s chief legal adviser claimed on Monday that the priceless jewel had in fact been given to Queen Victoria by an Indian king, and not stolen as many Indian citizens believe.
Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar surprised many when he told the Supreme Court that his country should therefore give up its claim to the awesome gem.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said its adviser’s view was not representative of the government and it was pressing on with its claim.
“The Government of India further reiterates its resolve to make all possible efforts to bring back the Koh-i-noor Diamond in an amicable manner,” the ministry of culture said in a statement.
The stone was a “valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history”, it added.
The Indian government has yet to give its opinion to the Supreme Court which is hearing the case.
A lawyer in India’s neighbour Pakistan last year filed a court petition calling for the stone’s return.
India and Pakistan became two different countries with partition in 1947, when they became independent from Britain.
India has repeatedly called for the return of the 105-carat diamond that was given to the then-queen around 1850.
It originally weighed 793 carats but by the time it reached Queen Victoria it had been cut down to 186 carats.
Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, unimpressed with the stone’s dull appearance ordered the change and refashioning, making it the size it is now.
It is set in the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, at the coronation of George VI, the Queen’s father in 1937.
The crown was placed on the Queen Mother’s coffin at her funeral in 2002.
The Duchess of Cambridge is likely to wear the crown when William – who is second in line to the throne – eventually becomes king.