Fishermen row: Italian minister heads to India


Kochi/Rome : Amid an escalating row between India and Italy, Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister will be in India Wednesday to discuss the arrest of two Italian Marines for killing two Indian fishermen.

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The visit comes even as New Delhi has made it clear that the legal process will take its own course and Italy should present its evidence in the court.

Staffan De Mistura is expected to meet senior Indian diplomats and call on External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

The visit will be followed by that of Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi Feb 28, official sources said.

Mistura will “continue on a political level the action so far carried out by a delegation of experts from the Italian foreign, defence and justice ministries,” the foreign ministry said in Rome. “Minister Terzi will visit personally next Tuesday.”

Terzi spoke Monday by telephone to Krishna and insisted that the Italian ship was in international waters. Its location is a matter of dispute between the two countries.

India contests Rome’s version and says any incident involving an Indian or an Indian vessel is subject to Indian law.

India has also conveyed to Italy that the arrested Marines could get consular access.

The Marines plan to move the Kerala High Court Wednesday to quash the FIR charging them with the murder of two Indian fishermen at sea.

Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, were mistaken for pirates and shot dead by them from an Italian cargo vessel Feb 15, off Alappuzha in Kerala.