Marines case: India talks tough, PM says Italy’s stand ‘unacceptable’

PM said that India would do “whatever needs to be done” in order to bring back Italian marines to India to face trial in the killing of fishermen.

Updated: Mar 12, 2013, 23:43 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh without mincing any words said on Tuesday that India would do “whatever needs to be done” in order to bring back Italian marines to India to face trial in the killing of Kerala fishermen.

Italian marines case: As it unfolded»

The PM’s reaction was after Italy refused yesterday to send back its two marines to face trial, amounting to breach of trust between the two nations and threatening a diplomatic standoff between New Delhi and Rome.

What is shocking is the fact that the decision by Italy not to send the two marines to India was taken despite promises made to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government has said that it will explore legal options so that justice is done to the families of the deceased. Earlier today the PM met a delegation of Congress MPs from Kerala.

Congress MP PC Chacko quoted the prime minister as saying that he would speak to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and "whatever needs to be done through diplomatic channels will be done".

The Supreme Court in February allowed Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two poor Indian fishermen off Kerala, to fly to Italy to vote in the Feburary 24-25 national election.

Khurshid said earlier that India was studying the Italian decision and that it was a "collective decision" to permit the Italian marines to vote in Italy.

"It was not just a Supreme Court decision but our country`s collective decision. They did return after Christmas and we will respond after seeing what reasoning Italy has given," Khurshid said here.

When the Italians were allowed by the Supreme Court to return to Italy for a second time (they went during Christmas and returned), Rome`s ambassador here had promised that the two would positively return to India.

The Italian decision was reportedly taken by its defence and justice ministries in consultation with the country`s prime minister`s office, the Italian foreign ministry announced Monday.

The marines have been at the centre of a year-long row for shooting the Indian fishermen after reportedly mistaking them for pirates in February 2012.

Italy claims the incident occurred in international waters and has been trying to get Latorre and Girone tried in Italian courts. India argues the killings took place in Indian territory.

Fisherman Gelastine and Ajesh Binki died in the firing.

With IANS inputs