Italian envoy barred from leaving India
New Delhi, March 14 : India said Thursday it was reviewing "all aspects" of its ties with Italy following Rome's refusal to send back its two marines to face trial for killing two Indian fishermen.
The external affairs ministry said the review was taken up after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called it "unacceptable" Italy's decision not to send back the marines, saying they could not be tried in Indian courts.
"We have initiated a study of our interactions with Italy," the ministry spokesman told the media here.
"At the end of that internal process, we will take further action that is appropriate taking into account all aspects of our relationship... Based on that study and as the situation evolves, you will see our response."
India and Italy are locked in a huge diplomatic row over marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala, mistaking them to be pirates.
The Supreme Court, which Feb 22 allowed the two to go to Rome to vote in national election after the Italian ambassador promised they would return, Thursday restrained envoy Daniele Mancini from leaving India.
The Supreme Court said Mancini could not leave India till March 18 without its permission.
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notices to the Italian government, its ambassador and the two marines.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence, said everything would be done to ensure that the "dignity and primacy" of India was preserved.
Asked if India would act against Ambassador Mancini, Khurshid said: "We will."
India's new envoy to Italy, Basant K. Gupta, who was to take charge this month, has not gone to Rome. He was to succeed Debabrata Saha, who retired in December.
A decision on whether Gupta would be sent to take up the new posting would be taken after the review, the source added.
India is firming up its legal case against Italy. It is also keeping the European Union informed about the Italian saga.
The Italian government has not communicated with India since March 12 when Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai summoned Mancini to South Block.
Mathai had conveyed to him "in the strongest terms" India's disapproval of the Italian decision and demanded that the two marines return to India.
But Italian Foreign Minikster Giulio Terzi said in Israel Thursday that it had "solid reasons to proceed in the direction of international arbitration" for not sending back the marines to India.
"The Indian government is amply apprised of all it needs to know about our reasons, as do many of our partners," ANSA news agency quoted him as saying.
The Indian foreign ministry spokesman declined to get into why the Italian marines were allowed to go back to Italy to take part in the national election -- and earlier for Christmas.
Responding to Italian argument that it wanted international arbitration, the spokesman said Italy would have to abide by the promise it made to the Supreme Court.
"The first step in terms of inter-state relations or international public law is that agreements ought to be respected, and we expect Italy to (do that)."
On Wednesday, Manmohan Singh said if Italy does not keep its word, "there will be consequences".
Italy claims the incident occurred in international waters and wants to get Latorre and Girone tried in its courts. India says the shooting took place in its Indian territory.