India on Tuesday demanded the return of two Italian marines to face trial for homicide in the country, rejecting the stand of the Italian government which has gone back on its assurances.
Angered by a sudden u-turn by the Italian government which refused the return of two marines, charged with killing of two Indian fishermen last year, Ministry of External Affairs summoned Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini to convey India's position on this matter in the "strongest of terms".
"I summoned the Italian Ambassador to my office. Basically, what I told him is that the content of the note which was given to us conveying the position of the Government of Italy regarding the two marines is not acceptable to us.
"There was an offer of discussions which has been made in a note from the Italians on March 6 that is a separate from the assurance given to the Supreme Court," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said.
The summoning comes a day after the Italian Foreign Ministry refused the return of the two marines, accusing Indian authorities of violating international rights by detaining the marines and said it was "open" to let an international arbitrator to assess the case.
The marines --Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone- -charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year in an anti-piracy operation, were permitted by the apex court on 22nd of last month to go to Italy for four weeks for voting in election.
Last time they were allowed to go home for Christmas holidays after which they returned back to India on expiry of their leave.
MEA said as per yesterday's note verbale, Italy has informed that "since a controversy between the two States has been established, the two Italian Marines, Latorre and Girone, will not return to India on the expiration of the permission granted to them".
"Government of India states firmly that it does not agree with the position conveyed by the Italian Government on the return of the two Marines to India," MEA said.
"It was conveyed to him (Mancini) that India expects Republic of Italy as a country that is committed to the rule of law to fulfil the sovereign undertaking given by it to the Supreme Court of India," it added.