New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the return of a 10th century statue of Durga that is originally from Jammu and Kashmir.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel befor a meeting at Hyderabad house in New Delhi on Monday. Pic/ PTI

Thanking Merkel in his media statement after talks here, Modi said the statue of Durga in her Mahishasurmardini avatar is a symbol of the victory of good over evil.

The statue had gone missing from a temple in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s and surfaced at the Linden Museum, Stuttgart, in Germany.

The Archaeological Survey of India had been tipped off by an art expert about the statue, and they followed it up.

The statue, which shows Durga slaying the demon god Mahisasur, is suspected to have been smuggled out by Indian art dealer Subhash Kapoor. Kapoor was arrested in Germany in 2011.