No pressure from Italy on marines issue: Govt



New Delhi: Government on Tuesday said there was no pressure from Italy on the marines issue, nearly a week after Italian Prime Minister called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express concern over detention of two of his country's sailors in Kerala for allegedly killing two fishermen.

"Absolutely not", was External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's response when asked if there was any pressure from Italy.

These remarks come in the backdrop of an escalating diplomatic row resulting in the recalling of the Italian Ambassador to India for consultations and summoning of Indian Ambassador Debabrata Saha by the Foreign Ministry in Rome.

Asked to comment on the two marines not getting bail in the case, the Minister said, "The judicial process is on and the Government of India is never known to interfere in that process."

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti had talked to Singh to express concern over the detention of two Italian marines -- Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone-- who are charged with murder and were denied bail last week by a court in Kerala.

The marines were arrested on February 19, four days after they allegedly opened fire while travelling by ship Enrica Lexie and killed two fishermen off the coast of Kerala, apparently suspecting them to be pirates.

On a separate query on Indians stranded in Angola, Krishna said, "Today I should be talking to the Foreign Minister (of Angola)... In the meanwhile, we have conveyed through our embassy that if any of them would like to get back to India, our embassy will make all possible arrangements for their return."

Asked about a fresh advisory on traders in China, he said, "When I was in China and when the Chinese Foreign Minister came to Delhi, we had discussed about the plight of the traders and the talks are continuing."

PTI