India has severed diplomatic ties with Italy over Rome's decision not to send back its two marines to India for trial in connection with the murder of two Indian fishermen last year. New Delhi on Friday alerted all the airports in the country to prevent Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country.
The Union Home Ministry alerted all the exit points, including airports after the Supreme Court issued notice to Italian envoy not to leave the country. The court had asked Mancini to respond to the notice by Monday and attend a hearing of the case the next day after Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy had filed a plea against the Italian ambassador for contempt of court.
The government of India has also reportedly told Basant Kumar Gupta, its ambassador-designate to Italy, not to leave for Rome following the controversy. Gupta, who was named the successor to former ambassador Debabrata Saha, was supposed to leave for Italy on Friday.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday told reporters outside Parliament House that all government agencies should abide by the order of the Supreme Court. He added that the government will know what step it should take after the apex court takes up the case on Monday.
Accusing Italy of breaching trust and breaking diplomatic norms, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday warned Rome of consequences in the relation between the countries if the Italian government fails to keep its word.
The Indian PM made the statement after the government of Italy sent a message that they are not sending back the two marines to India.
Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone were arrested for the murder of two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year, while on anti-piracy duty of guarding an Italian oil tanker. They were permitted by the Supreme Court to go home and vote in Italy's general election held last month, but they refused to return to India for trial.
The Foreign Secretary on Tuesday summoned Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini and conveyed India's stand on the matter in the strongest of terms saying, "India expects Republic of Italy as a country that is committed to the rule of law to fulfill the sovereign undertaking given by it to the Supreme Court of India".
The two marines were allowed to stay in Italy for a period of four weeks by the Supreme Court of India only on assurance by the Italian envoy that they would be sent back to India under the care, supervision and control of the Italian Republic after the completion of the stipulated time.
Hinting that the relation between the countries could be strained, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin said that the government will take further action after analyzing its relationship with Italy.
In the meanwhile, foreign minister of Italy, Giulio Terzi told reporters in Isreal, "We have juridically solid reasons to proceed in the direction of international arbitration."
Amid speculations that the unprecedented breach of trust could lead to complete diplomatic breakdown between the countries, including shutting down of Italy's embassy in India and closing its own embassy there, if Rome doesn't send back the accused marines, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reportedly called on both the countries to resolve the issue amicably.
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