New Delhi: The foreign minister of Italy arrived in India on Tuesday and is slated to meet SM Krishna amidst diplomatic tensions between the two countries over the killing of two fishermen off Kollam coast.
The Italian foreign minister is here with the families of the two guards of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie who allegedly fired at the Kerala fishermen. Italy has been maintaining that the incident occurred outside Indian territorial waters and the marines’ action was taken assuming the fishing vessel to be carrying pirates.
Inspite of the pressure mounted by Italy, India had steadfastly maintained that the trial of the two Italians will be held in India.
Meanwhile the Italian FM met Commerce Minister Anand Sharma this morning but it was mainly regarding trade and economic issues between the two countries.
Two fishermen, Ajesh Binki, 25, from Tamil Nadu and Gelastine, 45, from Kerala, were mistaken as pirates and shot dead by the crew of the Italian cargo vessel on February 15, about 14 nautical miles off Alappuzha.
Earlier the Italian Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte was summoned by Ministry of External Affairs by Secretary (West) M Ganapathi regarding the issue. Defence Minister AK Antony had also described the incident as “serious and unfortunate”.
The Indian Navy has also maintained that the Italian merchant vessel had violated the established anti-piracy norms when it fired at an Indian boat carrying 11 fishermen killing two of them. Whenever there is a piracy attempt on a merchant vessel, it is supposed to communicate to its base or nearest ship but no such communication was registered from the Italian ship in this incident, as per the Navy.
As per the norms, any ship coming under attack has to report the incident immediately to the single primary point of contact which is the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) in Dubai.
The ships are also supposed to make ‘Mayday’ distress calls on particular radio frequencies watched by the navies but no such attempt seems to have been made by the vessel.
In case of an attack, merchant vessels are first required to adopt evasive measures and if such a measure does not help, they are supposed to fire warning shorts in air first.