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Press statement on the Italian Marines issue

March 12, 2013

  1. The Ministry of External Affairs received a note verbale from the Embassy of Italy in New Delhi late in the evening of 11 March 2013 regarding the Supreme Court decision of 18 January 2013 on the Italian Marines issue. The note verbale conveyed, inter-alia, that Italy deems that there is an existing controversy with India concerning the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea of 1982 and the general principles of international law applicable to the Enrica Lexie incident. They have requested the Indian government to set up a meeting at diplomatic level in order to reach an amicable solution of the said controversy. A request had earlier been received in this regard on 6 March 2013. The Italian request of 6 March 2013 is under examination.
  2. Meanwhile, by the note verbale dated 11 March 2013, Italy has informed that "since a controversy between the two States has been established, the two Italian Marines, Mr. Latorre and Mr. Girone, will not return to India on the expiration of the permission granted to them”. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court of India in its Order dated 22 February 2013, had permitted the two Marines to leave India on the express undertaking given by the Republic of Italy, and under the terms of the Order, they are required to return to India within a period of four weeks to face legal proceedings in India.
  3. 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. The Italian Ambassador was summoned by the Foreign Secretary today and Government of India’s position on this matter was conveyed to him in the strongest of terms. It was conveyed to him 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 was only following this undertaking that the Supreme Court allowed the two Marines to travel to and remain in Italy for a period of four weeks and return to India under the care, supervision and control of the Italian Republic. It was conveyed to the Italian Ambassador that the Italian Government was obliged to ensure their return to India within the stipulated period as per the terms of the Supreme Court Order.
New Delhi
12 March 2013


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