India seeks EU's support in the Italian marines issue

New Delhi, Mar. 14 (ANI): The Indian Government is reported to be seeking the European Union's interventional support to resolve its row with Italy over the return of two marines to face trial for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012.

The two marines-Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year in an anti-piracy operation, were permitted by India's Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks for voting in last month's election.

However, on March 11, the Italian Government announced that Latorre and Girone would remain in Italy and not return to India to face murder charges.

Television channels were quoting unnamed sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), as confirming this move to approach the EU.

Earlier this afternoon, MEA Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said that India will take further action in the marines' case after taking into account its ties with Italy.

"We will take further action that is appropriate taking into account all aspects of our relationship with Italy. As part of our ongoing efforts, stemming from PM's remarks in Parliament, we have initiated a study of our interactions with Italy. At the end of that internal process, we will take appropriate action," Akbaruddin said.

The Ministry of External Affairs said it expected Italy to abide by the agreement made by its ambassador.

Syed Akbaruddin said, "The first step in terms of international public law is that agreements are to be respected. We expect Italy to respect the agreement."

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, who had filed a plea against the Italian ambassador in the Supreme Court, said, "The court has directed that the ambassador cannot leave the country. It sends a strong message becasue the confidence of the people was shaken after they insulted us by keeping the marines there."

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked the government as to what actions it was planning against Italy in connection with the marines row.

"We are waiting for severe 'consequences' that PM promised. A private citizen has now ensured that justice is done. The person has got a notice against the Italian ambassador," BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said, "We will comply with the Supreme Court order restraining

the Italian Ambassador from leaving the country."

Currently, the Italian Government maintains that the marines do not face any charges in India.

Television channels are quoting sources, as saying say that the Supreme court had left open the option for Italy to challenge jurisdiction in a special court.

The apex court, however, has sought an explanation from Ambassador Daniele Mancini on the Italian Government's decision of going back on its assurance to send back the marines to face trial in India.

The court has asked Ambassador Daniele Mancini to respond to the notice by March 18. The next date of hearing in the case against the Italian ambassador is March 19.

Sources say Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is consulting Law Minister Ashwani Kumar over India's options in the Italian marines' case.

Sources say the government is considering approaching the International Court of Justice, but no decision has been finalised as yet. (ANI)

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