New Delhi: The two Italian marines had praised India while casting their votes and had hailed it as a great democratic country, a video footage of a local television channel has shown. The video shows the two marines casting their votes and also meeting defence officials after that.
Speaking to the press, one of the marines says, "It (India) is a great democratic country. We are here to vote. We are back in Patroia because India's Supreme Court let us come back for four weeks and showed us how democratic India is. India recognised our right to vote."
The other marine says, "We want to thank the Italian government, the defence ministry... we want to spend the month with our families and spend time at the regiment and seek some peace and tranquility. Every minute with you guys (the press) is a minute lost with our families. Thanks."
Massimiliano Girone and Salvatore Latorre had left India to participate in the Italian elections that took place February 24 and 25. They had been given the permission to go for four weeks. However, on Monday, the Italian embassy informed India that the marines wouldn't be returning, triggering a diplomatic standoff between the two countries.