As if India’s strained diplomatic ties with Pakistan over terrorism and Kashmir issues were not enough, now India also have to deal with bitter problems with Italy. With two Italian marines accused of killing two unarmed Indian fisherman, both the countries are in a row over the issue.
It was recently reported that the Italian marines killed two fishermen off the coast of Kerala. Both the fishermen were unarmed. Both countries have now accused each other for the deaths. With Indian government blaming Italy for taking a stance against the killing and Italian government shrugging off the incidence saying that the marines mistook the fishermen as pirates, the row has got deeper.
With India maintaining its stance, it has decided not to have any ambassadorial relationship with Italy as the country accused India of violating the diplomatic laws when the Indian ambassador was not allowed to leave the country. The whole problem cropped up in last February when two Italian marines: Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were charged with shooting dead two Indian fishermen.
After the incident they were arrested; however, the Indian government allowed them to return to Italy last month to cast vote in national elections and spend some time with their families. It was decided that they will return after four weeks but it seems Italian government has something different in their mind. Italy announced that they will not return to India and they would be tried in Italy instead.
This whole decision has sparked a diplomatic issue where the Italian Prime Minister Mario Montir said Italy doesn’t want to impose any international pressure, but Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the situation totally ‘unacceptable’.
India also made a decision of not sending India’s ambassador Basant Kumar Gupta to Italy. That will ultimately call for the move from Italy to recall its ambassador Daniele Mancini from India. But Indian Supreme Court, which earlier allowed the two Marines to go back to Italy for a four-week period on the personal assurance of the ambassador thinking they will be returning to India, now ruled that Mancini could not leave India without permission. All the customs officials at borders, airport and marine ports are given strict instructions to not let Mancini leave the country.
At a recent meeting, Italy announced that India’s decision of not to deploy Roman ambassador was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. India further said that keeping the marines is itself a violation of international law. On Monday, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said, “No matter what the Italian sailors must return to India to face trials.”
Hopefully, the Italian government would take it in positive spirits and both countries would resolve their issues.