New Delhi: Welcoming Italy`s decision to send back its marines, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday that their return would be in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court and consistent with the dignity of the judicial process in India.
"We are happy with the outcome. I welcome the return of Italian marines," Manmohan Singh told reporters as the marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen headed back to stand trial in India.
"The Italian marines are coming back in accordance with the direction of Supreme Court and it is consistent with the dignity of judicial process in India," he said.
The External Affairs Ministry announced that the Italian government had informed it the marines would return.
On March 11, Italy informed India that the marines - who had been allowed to go home by the Supreme Court on February 22 following an undertaking by the Italian envoy - would not be sent back, leading to a diplomatic standoff. The ambassador was restrained by the apex court from leaving India for reneging on his word.
The marines, posted aboard oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie on security duty, had on February 15, 2012, opened fire at a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala, suspecting it carried pirates. Two fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, were killed in the firing.