PM warns of 'consequences' if Italy breaks vow
In a strongly-worded statement in both Houses of Parliament, where government came under attack on the issue, Singh accused Italy of "violating every rule of diplomatic discourse" and termed as "unacceptable" its decision not to send back the accused marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone.
The two marines were permitted by the Supreme Court on February 22 to go to Italy for four weeks to cast their votes in general elections following a written assurance by Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini that they will return by March 22. There are also demands that the Ambassador be expelled from the country.
Urging the Italian authorities to respect the undertaking given to the Supreme Court, Singh said they should return the two accused to stand trial here.
"If they do not keep their word there will be consequences for our relations with Italy," Singh said firmly, adding that bilateral relationship has to function on the basis of trust.
While the Prime Minister promised that the government will pursue through diplomatic channels the efforts to bring the marines back to India, Mancini insisted his country has not gone back on its assurance to the Supreme Court.
The Ambassador, however, argued that Italy was not going back on the assurance.
"No. No, we are not retracting (on the assurance).