The Law Ministry and the External Affairs Ministry disagree with the National Investigation Agency stand that the Italian marines should be tried under the Suppression of Unlawful Act. They want the marines prosecuted under ordinary criminal laws.

Last year, the tensions between the two countries reached a flashpoint, after Rome declined to return the marines for trial, having guaranteed their bail. The Supreme Court responded by barring Italian Ambassador Danielle Mancini from leaving India, a decision European diplomats said was a violation of his diplomatic immunity. The men eventually returned to Delhi in March, 2013.

In New Delhi, some experts argue that the case has been muddied by politics. “I think the nationalist passions this case has ignited in India are misplaced,” said former Naval officer C. Uday Bhaskar, a leading maritime security expert. “It is no-one’s case that the marines killed the fishermen in cold blood, or because of some personal feud.”

“This case was a tragedy, which should have been handled with the sensitivity we would expect if two of our own soldiers were involved.”

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