NEW DELHI: A high-level Italian delegation arrived here on Sunday and met the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in a bid to resolve the diplomatic row arising out of the killing of two Indian fishermen by the guards onboard an Italian ship off Kollam coast near Kerala. The meeting, however, failed to reach an amicable solution.
The Italian embassy officials also joined the high-level team during the meeting, where both sides agreed that no military personnel had the right to fire on unarmed fishermen, while asserting that the respective country enjoyed an extraterrestrial jurisdiction in any crime or incident in such situations. In absence of any legal treaties of bilateral nature to discuss such issues, both sides also decided to carry on with their own investigations into the incident. Soon after the meeting, the Kerala Police were allowed to get custody of two Italian ship guards who opened fire on unarmed fishermen.
The six-member Italian delegation comprised members of its foreign, legal and defence ministries and two from the Italian mission in India, including Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte. Four of them reached Delhi on Sunday morning.
The delegation held meeting with M Ganapathi, Secretary (West) in the MEA, and U K S Chauhan, senior MHA official and Resident Commissioner of Kerala in New Delhi. “We had a fairly comprehensive discussion wherein we explained to them the rationale of our position and the situation as it exists today,” said MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. The ministry officials also informed the delegation that in India, law and order was a state subject and they should directly approach the Kerala government to discuss the issue.
The delegation has decided to visit Kochi to conduct legal consultation.