Plans special training for military personnel aboard ships

Italy will initiate an international endeavour to ensure that big ships do not come too close to the territorial waters of India so that incidents such as the recent one where Italian marines shot and killed Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala never happen again.

This was stated here on Friday by Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs (deputy foreign minister) Staffan de Mistura. He was speaking to journalists after an interaction with Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram M. Susaipakiam.

Italy may put in place a special training programme for military personnel aboard ships so that they could better handle such situations. On its part, the government of Kerala should frame rules to prevent big ships from coming very close to its territorial waters. The death of the fishermen was an “unwanted incident” and an “accidental murder,” he said. “Our marines never wanted this to happen, but unfortunately it took place. However, recognising this fact, the judicial process should be speeded up and brought to a conclusion. Now it is taking too long.”

There were people in Italy who wondered whether the judicial process against the marines was being deliberately delayed. “We know it is not and we respect the judicial process.” Whatever be the judicial verdict in India, the marines would be tried for murder in Italy. Mr. Mistura said the compensation paid to the families of the dead fishermen was purely a humanitarian gesture. It had no penal link. It was understandable that some people had this impression that the families were being sought to be bought. But that was totally untrue. There was also this impression that the Italians were like cowboys who just loved to shoot and did not care for fishermen. ‘This is also totally false.”