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Updated: March 16, 2013 12:25 IST

Diplomatic ties with Italy downgraded

Sandeep Dikshit
Comment (9)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

By not sending its Ambassador-designate to Rome, India has effectively downgraded its diplomatic ties with Italy.

The decision not to send Basant Kumar Gupta followed several meetings on Thursday, including one between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

The withholding of Mr. Gupta’s posting was among the several steps contemplated by the government to give effect to Dr. Singh’s warning of “consequences’’ if Italy did not return the two marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen while on anti-piracy duty on a cargo ship, at the end of the four-week reprieve given by the Supreme Court.

Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs clarified that while there was no conscious downgrading of ties, the decision not to send a new Ambassador amounted to the Indian mission in Rome functioning at a lower level.

The MEA is conducting a review of the entire spectrum of India-Italy ties after Rome refused to send back the marines despite its Ambassador having submitted an undertaking to the Supreme Court.

The Italians sent a note verbale to India on March 11, claiming that it was not sending back the marines and raising a dispute with India. Its grouse seemed to be the absence of a reply from India to its March 6 missive.

The MEA sources, however, dismiss this claim. They point out that rarely in international diplomacy such a small window is offered to reply. Moreover, the trend is to send a reminder or two before taking further action.

Airports alerted

Meanwhile, PTI, quoting official sources, said all exit points, including airports across the country, have been alerted to prevent Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country. The decision was taken by the Home Ministry a day after the court restrained the Ambassador from leaving India without its permission, it said.

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Downgrade relations with Italy. Who are you guys kidding? How are all our
politicians going to line their pockets without all the big government deals from that

from:  K. Sinha
Posted on: Mar 18, 2013 at 08:43 IST

Not sending the assigned ambassador can hardly be called downgrading the post. It has been so for the past two and half months and that state is continuing only. Only when it is declared officially that till the matter regarding this dispute is settled a lower level diplomat will be representing India. It is nothing new in India a post lying vacant for long periods. To put an alert to prevent the ambassador from going out of the country as if he is dangerous criminal is really going too far.

from:  Guptan Veemboor
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 14:10 IST

People of India need action by their government. We do not have
faith in the paper works and the propoganada. Why alerting
airport but impound his passport. A stringent action is must for
the killings and the breach of law by the ambassador not honouring
his assurance.

from:  yuvraj
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 12:15 IST

In a situation where there's contention that the Italians were in International waters, it's best that the two men go through the trial process in the court. When compared to the few thousand miles that separates India and Italy, the proximity of the location where the two indian fishermen were killed is insignificant and maybe termed as Indian waters. That the incident happened in India's backyard offers no stand for Italy to contend a trial in Italy. It makes sense to try the accused under Indian laws.

The shameful and peevish part played by Italy is highly condemnable and deplorable. Having said that, I'm not sure whether the Indian politicians are sincere in their intentions to get the accused back. Their actions might just be a smokescreen to allow emotions cool down just as we've seen what happened to the accused from the 2G spectrum scandal. After all Italy is the former home of at least one national Indian politician! So there's so much at stake.

from:  Murali S
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 10:03 IST

A rich country like Italy is obviously flexing its muscles against
India. India was gracious enough to let their soldiers visit Italy
based on the guarantee provided by the country's ambassador. What do
we get in return? We have been kicked in the rear end by a country
that we help liberate in world war 2 from the Nazis (50,000 Indians
fought against Germany in Italy. Approximately 5500 lost their lives).
The governments of these two countries will battle with each other in
the coming weeks and months. But what can we as citizens of India do?
What would Mahatma Gandhi do under these circumstances? Let us take
some action. 1) First any of us who has vacation plans to Italy should
cancel it or change the destination. 2) Many of us fly between India
and the US using Alitalia. We should cancel these tickets and re-book
them through other airlines. 3) Fiat is entering the Indian market
(Joint Venture with TATA). While we will continue buying TATA cars, we
will not buy cars sold under the Fiat brand name. 4) Many of us use
Italian tiles, Italian granite and Italian cabinetry in our houses.
Let us not make this mistake again. 5) India buys a lot of textile
machinery from Italy. I urge Indian business leaders to think twice
before buying from them again. 6) 90% of the Olive oil sold in India
comes from Italy or Spain. Check the label the next time you visit the
store. If you see a made in Italy label, make sure to tell the store
owner why you will not buy the product. Let us be proactive and let us
make a difference.

from:  Hari
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 09:48 IST

[By not sending its Ambassador-designate to Rome, India has effectively downgraded its diplomatic ties with Italy.]

"Chi la fa l'aspetta", as they say, but they needn't have worried that the Italians would do the same. The violation of an ambassador's right to freedom of movement (which is part of the same diplomatic immunity regularly invoked by wife-beating Indian diplomats abroad) was not even violated by the barbaric regimes.

[all exit points, including airports across the country, have been alerted to prevent Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country.]

Take good care of him. Just in case anyone is aware of what a third-world clown India is making of itself yet again on the international scene, it would be even more embarrassing if the ambassador is ripped to pieces by the same kind of mob of rabid illiterates that threatened to do the same to the marines the day they were arrested.

from:  Ashu
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 09:39 IST

India has to act tough like Jawaharilal Nehru, V.K.Krishna Menon, Sardar
Patel etc.We have to act like Mahatma Gandhi today. We have to respect
Democracy and rule of Law. We did not act during Bofors Case, Bhopal Gas
Tragedy, David Haedly's case. We should not be afraid of acting for
Truth and Justice. Let us be strong in this case against Italy.

from:  Thomas Kocherry
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 05:42 IST

My kudos to the government for taking such a bold and reasonable step.
Please ensure that justice is met.

from:  Parameshwar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 05:00 IST

India's refusal to let the Italian Ambassador leave will leave the country open to
claims that it is in violation of international law. Seems rather short sighted. The
killing of the fisherman was accidental and occurred in international waters rather
than in Indian waters. India's desire to try the Italians with homicide is typical band-
standing for internal political purposes. India has lost the high moral ground by its
actions and will earn international condemnation.

from:  didymus
Posted on: Mar 16, 2013 at 04:33 IST
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