The Supreme Court on Thursday restrained Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country even as the Government decided to withhold the sending of a new envoy to Italy and resolved to throw out Mr. Mancini once the court finishes dealing with the issue.
On a parallel track, the Foreign Office began a review of its engagements with Italy to be in a position to implement Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s warning of “consequences” if Rome went back on its commitment of sending the marines back within four weeks.
As the apex court had let off the marines on February 22, Government sources said the window will close after a week.
In a significant decision taken following a late evening meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister (EAM) Salman Khurshid, India will not send a new Ambassador to Rome to replace Rajiv Dogra who has retired and is back in the country. Mr. Basant Gupta was all set to leave for Rome but was asked to stay back .
The Government is also thinking of throwing out the Italian Ambassador once the Supreme Court is through with the issue. “Our hands are tied at the moment because the Supreme Court is hearing the matter. We don’t know what direction the case will take. But once the court has decided how to deal with the Ambassador, we will declare him persona non-grata,” said sources.
At the PM-EAM meeting, it was also felt that the European Union must be taken into confidence about the developments. Accordingly, Indian envoys in the 27 EU member countries will present the case in Brussels as well as in the respective national capitals. In Delhi too, envoys will be briefed on the reasons for India’s anger, to balance the perspective provided by Italy.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) initiated a study of its interactions with Italy. After the end of this internal process, “we will take further action taking into account all aspects of our relationship,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told newspersons here.
For the moment, the MEA is focussed on urging Italy to respect its commitment given to the court and expected Mr. Mancini to comply with the undertaking he had “voluntarily” given to the apex court.
Asked about the implications of the Supreme Court restraining Mr. Mancini from leaving the country, Mr. Akbaruddin said the apex court did not violate any aspect of the Vienna Convention, which provides the framework for diplomatic ties.