New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs has initiated a study of India's interactions with Italy and would take an appropriate decision in the marines issue once the process was over, said the ministry's spokesperson on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Syed Akbaruddin also said that India was reviewing its relations with Italy following the standoff over the Italian marines issue. "Entire expanse of our interaction with Italy is being reviewed, every aspect is being examined carefully and appropriate decision taken after that," he added.
Sources said that India's Ambassador-designate to Italy Basant Kumar Gupta, who was scheduled to leave for Rome on Friday, was not proceeding there now. They also said a decision on whether to expel the Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini and on whether Gupta should take up the posting would also be taken after the review. Answering a question on the Supreme Court's order restraining Mancini from leaving the country, the spokesman said that no aspect of Vienna Convention, which governs diplomatic relations between countries, was violated by the apex court notice to the envoy.
The spokesman insisted the the agreement, which has been signed by the Italian envoy, should be implemented and abided by Italy. The Supreme Court earlier in the day restrained Mancini from leaving the country without its permission, taking exception to his government's refusal to send back the two marines. It also issued notices to Mancini and the two Italian marines - Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone - and asked them to file their response by March 18 and posted the matter for further hearing next Monday.
The marines were charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February, 2012 in an anti-piracy operation. They were permitted by the apex court on February 22 to go to Italy for four weeks for voting in election and directed to return within four weeks.
(With additional information from PTI)