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Mar 22, 2013 at 09:40am IST

India's tough stand forces Italy to agree to send back marines

New Delhi: It is a victory for India in the stand-off with Italy over the fate of the two Italian marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Kerala fishermen. The Italian government has said that the marines will be sent back to India on Friday.

Italian authorities say that the decision was taken after they requested and received a written assurance from the Indian government regarding the treatment and protection of the marines' fundamental rights. An official statement from Rome said, "The Italian government requested and received a written assurances from the Indian authorities regarding the treatment of the marines and the protection of their fundamental rights."

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The Ministry of External Affairs in its first official reaction has confirmed that Italy has informed India at a very senior level that the marines will be back on Friday. The government will make a statement in Parliament after noon.

Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh welcomed Italy's decision. Singh tweeted, "India's tough stand as articulated by the PM and Sonia Gandhi has worked. Italy sending back its 2 marines to face trial in India."

Italy's decision to not send the marines back had sparked a diplomatic row earlier this month. India had warned Italy of dire consequences if the marines were not returned and the tough stance seems to have forced the Italian government to reverse its position.

The Supreme Court had also taken a tough stance barring Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India. Coming down heavily on Mancini while hearing the case of the Italian marines, the Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir had not only restrained him from leaving the country till further orders, he also added that a person who comes to the court and gives an undertaking has no immunity.

The Supreme Court also said that that it had lost all trust in the Italian ambassador while adjourning the matter till April 2. The court had ruled that no further affidavits will be accepted from the Italian ambassador on whether he wants to leave the country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week termed as "unacceptable" Italy's refusal to send its two marines back to India and said the issue will be taken up with that country. Congress President Sonia Gandhi had also spoken out strongly saying that no country should take India for granted.