India wants its cordial relations with Italy to continue and the issues involving the killing of two Indian fishermen will not affect the ties, Minister for External Affairs S.M. Krishna has said.
The court would ultimately decide on the question of Italian ship Enrica Lexie leaving the Indian waters, he told journalists after having discussions with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and senior police officers here on Monday. Two marines of the ship shot dead the fishermen, reportedly mistaking them for pirates. They are now in judicial custody.
Mr. Krishna commended the State government for its handling of the case. It was entitled to impose bail conditions on the vessel owners as a precondition for leaving Kochi. If the State was satisfied with the conditions, the Centre would go by its decision.
The court would ultimately decide on how the impasse could be ended, the Minister said.
Mr. Chandy said the State government could not accept the bond offer made by the vessel owners on paper. They should furnish proper guarantees and the accept the conditions laid down by the court. The Centre had assured the State all support.
On sea piracy, especially by Somali pirates, he said the Ministries of External Affairs, Defence and Home were working together to meet the menace. The government had taken some steps to minimise the threat but lots more needed to be done.
The Minister assured Mercy George, wife of George Joseph who was abducted by Somalian pirates two years ago, that all possible efforts would be taken to ensure his release. Mr. Joseph was the First Engineer of m.v. Asphalt Ventures, which was abducted on September 28, 2010 while it was on its way to Kenya. While 15 were released, seven, including Mr. Joseph, were held back.
Mr. Chandy said he had provided information on Keralites being held hostage by Somali pirates during his meeting with Mr. Krishna.