Italy recalls ambassador to India over marines issue

Italy recalls ambassador to India over marines issue

Italy recalled its ambassador to New Delhi Wednesday for "urgent consultations" after the Indian apex court rejected the request by two Italian marines to stay at home during the period of Christmas holidays.

Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told parliamentarians  this did not mean Italy wished to cut diplomatic ties with New Delhi, Xinhua reported.

Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti also said Wednesday the full physical recovery of marine Massimiliano Latorre was "a priority for the government and nothing will be done to jeopardise his condition".

Latorre has been in Italy for treatment but Tuesday, the Indian Supreme Court refused his request to stay for longer time, asking he return to India for the controversial case of the two Italian marines who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen some three years ago. Latorre's leave was granted by the Indian government after he suffered a form of heart attack.

The court also refused the request of the other Italian marine, Salvatore Girone, to return home for Christmas.

Pinotti said Latorre, who was allowed to leave India in September for four months of medical treatment at home, was in no condition to travel. Italy was not defying India, but the recognition of Latorre's health problems was simply "a calm and firm acknowledgement of the situation", she added.

Tuesday, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and other politicians expressed unhappiness after the Indian court made the decision. The case dates to February 2012 when the two marines were on anti-piracy duty on a vessel in international waters near India.

The point of the argument is that Italy maintains that the two marines were on international duty, India does not have jurisdiction, but India insists that the killing was on Indian waters.

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