India miffed at Italy’s refusal to send back marines

ANIL ANAND

New Delhi, Mar 12: Italy’s refusal to send its two marines, involved in the killing of fishermen in Kerala, back to India threatens to snowball into a major diplomatic row as Indian Government has taken the development seriously in the face of widespread public criticism. The two marines had gone to Italy to cast their votes after being permitted by the Supreme Court.
Sensing the public mood, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has said that the development was “unacceptable” and assured that the issue will be taken up with the Italian Government. He gave this assurance when a delegation of MPs from Kerala met him on Tuesday and demanded his intervention in the matter.
Earlier, the matter also figured in the two Houses of Parliament. The agitated members demanded immediate intervention by the Government.
Dr Singh told the MPs that he will ask External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to take up the issue with Italy.
On his part, Khurshid said the government is studying Italy's decision, its reasons as also implications. "We will study and take a rightful position... We will take informed position," he said.
Later talking to media-persons, CPM Member MB Rajesh said, "We met the Prime Minister and took up the issue of Italian marines. The Prime Minister told us that he came to know about this from newspapers. He assured us that he will ask the External Affairs Minister to look into this issue."
Another CPM MP P Karunakaran said that Singh "told us that this is not acceptable to us" and assured the delegation that the matter would be taken up "strongly" with the Italian Government.
Meanwhile, Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said the Ministry of External Affairs and his ministry will consult with each other and "make sure that we proceed ahead as effectively as we can."
He observed that "there are complications" as the issue relates to a foreign country. "We are dealing with foreign diplomats within the framework of the established diplomatic conventions and norms," Kumar said.
At the same time, he emphasized that the government needs to ensure that Indian laws and court processes are "respected by foreigners."

Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST




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