Marines row: Italian Envoy may be asked to leave India



Marines row: Italian Envoy may be asked to leave India Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Worried over the political fallout of Italy going back on its word on the return of two marines accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast, the UPA government may be left with no option but to take a hard stand and expel Rome’s envoy in New Delhi Daniele Mancini.

Clearly, the government of India appears to be left with no option but to send the envoy packing back to Italy for having gone back on the solemn promise he gave to New Delhi that the marines will return to India to face trial.

The undertaking given by the Italian envoy amounted to a sovereign guarantee following which, Supreme Court allowed the two marines to travel to and remain in Italy for four weeks and "return to India under the care, supervision and control of the Italian Republic."

The other option before the government is to let the trial continue, if the marines are found guilty then India can approach the Interpol to get the marines extradited – a option that may not work given Italian government’s belligerent stand.

The third option is to approach the international criminal court but the Indian government has not been keen to seek third party intervention in the case.

Yesterday, the envoy was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and a strong protest was lodged against Italy’s refusal to send the marines back.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who summoned the Italian Ambassador to his office at the South Block here, said the latter has been conveyed the Indian Government's position in this regard.

"We summoned the Ambassador of Italy. I summoned him to my office and basically what I told him is that the contents of note, which was given to us conveying the position of the Government of Italy regarding the two marines is not acceptable to us," he told media here.

When asked to comment on the response of the Italian envoy, Mathai said the former has taken note of New Delhi's position and would convey it to Rome.

"He simply took note of the position conveyed to him that the message which we had received from his embassy was not acceptable. And he said he would convey that to his authorities, to his government in Rome," he said.

This move of the MEA came after Italian Foreign Ministry made it clear that the marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen would not return to India when their court-allowed leave ends this month.

The two Italian marines, Salvatore Latorre and Massimiliano Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012 after mistaking them for pirates, were permitted by the Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in last month's election.

The two were allowed to go home during Christmas. They returned to India on the expiry of their leave.