Mar 22, 2013, 11.02 PM | Source: PTI
The two Italian marines, accused of killing Indian fishermen, today returned to India to face trial, ending days of the diplomatic row between the two countries.
The marines arrived here at about 6 PM, hours before the deadline set by the Supreme Court, which had allowed them to go back to Italy to vote in the elections there, expired. Italy had earlier said it would not send the marines back as promised, insisting India did not have the jurisdiction to try them. But Italy reversed its position late last night and decided to send the marines - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - back.
The Supreme Court had allowed the marines to return home last month based on the written assurance by the Italian Ambassador here that that they would return within four weeks. The marines had returned from a similar trip home over Christmas last year.
But this time, after the marines flew home, the Italian government had said they would not be coming back, triggering a diplomatic standoff. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had earlier taken a strong stand against the Italian's refusal to send back marines, today said he was happy that the "integrity and dignity" of the Indian judicial process has been upheld.
Relieved by Italy's decision, Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said it clearly established the fact that no country can question the sovereignty of India. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid credited the government's diplomacy for the return of the marines to face trial in the killing of two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast last year.