New Delhi, March 13: Italy played a masterstroke by refusing to send back two of its marines, who have killed two Kerala fishermen off the Kerala coast last year, to face trial in India.
Almost a diplomatic row has emerged between India and Italy. Experts say the likelihood of two marines to come back to India looks dim. Indian establishment has reacted strongly to the breach of trust. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took a tough stand and stated in strong words, "Italy's refusal to send back marines is unacceptable."
Media reports suggest that Italian Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini might be asked to leave India, unless and until two Italian marines are not sent back to India in another 10 days. The Italian envoy might face the ignominy of being declared as "persona non grata".
But, is this enough, just to send back the envoy to Italy? Why not India ensure that two marines are brought back to India to deliver justice to the families of the deceased fishermen?
Italy has always maintained the stand that the shooting of the two fishermen happened in international waters, so India cannot conduct the trial of the marines. But, why Italy is forgetting that the crime led to death of two Indian fishermen?
The two marines--Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone--have been at the centre of a year-long international row for allegedly shooting dead two Indian fishermen Ajesh Binki and Gelastine after mistaking them for pirates near the Kerala coast in February 2012.
Dora, wife of Gelastine, said, "This is nothing but a conspiracy at the highest level and the Indian government should see that they bring back the two marines to stand trial in the case in our country."
India had earlier granted permission to the marines to visit Italy (their home) to vote in last month's election.
Supreme Court in January said that India had jurisdiction to try the marines but Italy has challenged that decision, arguing that the shooting took place in international waters.
Earlier the two marines went to Italy to celebrate Christmas with their families, but they came back to India on January.