Two counties – India and Italy, coated with the essence of exotic culture suddenly finds themselves sitting on ‘hot seat’of controversy. Over past couple of weeks, diplomatic tensions found it head in an all time high position.
All started when an Italian ship mistook the boat of two Indian fishermen for pirates. The over the edge marines simply could not hold their fires back and ripped apart the boat on 15 February 2012. Little did they know, they killed two innocent Indian fishermen, namely 24 years old Ajesh Binki and 45 years old Gelastine, both from Kerela.
Indian authorities, mainly Kerela Police lost no time and acted swift to hold back the Italian ship. This led to the arrest of two marines of Italian ship as well. The accused marines, Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone were sent to juidicial custody. A hearing followed and the duo was sent to jail.
Mario Monti, the Italian Prime Minister interfered and called his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh, terming the entire prosecution episode as “dangerous precedent”. Mr. Monti also questioned the attitude of Indian authorizes and went on to tag them ‘un-involved’ in co-operating with the international peacekeeping forces.
While the prosecution of two Marines already creating uproar, the news of two Italians getting abducted by Maoists in Orissa jungles further fanned the already raging flame. The incident happened on 14 March 2012, almost a month later than the case where Marines were involved.
Though the Orissa Chief Minister, Mr. Naveen Patnaik urged Maoists to release the two Italians on humanitarian ground, much is yet left to be seen how it’s going to shape up. But the pinch of truth does poke sharp. Both India and Italy have found themselves embroiled in a series of unpleasant situations and happenings, they would have loved to avoid. Will this have an ‘overcast’ effect over the otherwise friendly India-Italy relations?