India-Italy spat over marines, diplomatic ties downgraded

Following the revocation of Italian Ambassador from leaving the India to Rome, the diplomatic ties between India-Italy has been effectively downgraded.

The government has refused its Ambassador designate to Rome, Basant Kumar Gupta to proceed to take up his posting in Rome.

Mr. Gupta was scheduled to leave for Rome today, but the decision of his withdraw is followed several meetings of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, source said.

It has been said that Mr. Gupta who replaced to Debabrata Saha is to take charge by end of next week, and for that he has to leave for Rome, but the government withdraw it.

“The decision of not sending Mr Gupta to assume his position is tantamount to the fact that India wants to keep diplomatic ties with Italy at a level lesser than the ambassador,” source told reporters.

The decision came in effect from earlier warning of Mr. Singh to be of “consequences’’ if Italy govt does not send back the two killer marines accused for shooting of two Indian fishermen on a cargo ship at Kerala coast.

Meanwhile, the UPA’s decision over posting of Gupta would be on hold till Italy’s reply as the four-week deadline has given to Italy by the govt to send back marines to face trial in India who allowed to go home on undertaking of Ambassador.

The entire gamut of India-Italy relations is being reviewed by the MEA, stressing to “honour” the commitment of the Supreme Court. While SC has issued notices Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini and two marines asked to file their response by 18 March.


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