Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday warned Italy of “consequences” if it did not stand by its commitment and send back the two marines, accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012, to face trial in India.
In a strongly worded statement in Parliament, Singh said Italy had not only violated “every rule of diplomatic discourse”, but also called into question “solemn commitments given by an accredited representative of a government”. Singh told MPs Italy’s actions were not acceptable “by any standards”, after opposition parties attacked the government in both the Houses.
The Supreme Court had allowed the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to go to Italy last month, on a written assurance by Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini that they would return in four weeks’ time. But on Monday, Rome conveyed to New Delhi that marines would not be coming back to India.
PM Manmohan Singh speaks about the Italian marines row in the Lok Sabha. PTI
Asked if Mancini would be given marching orders, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai said, “We are awaiting the response of the Italian government... Further course of action will be taken after their response.”
Technically, a case cannot be made out against Italy until the SC deadline for the marines’ return expires on March 22.
The home ministry wants the government to move the court against Mancini for reneging on his undertaking. A government official said New Delhi was exploring whether the diplomatic immunity available to the Italian ambassador under the Vienna convention will be applicable in this case.