NEW DELHI: In its arguments before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Italy on Monday said it had tried to initiate back-channel negotiations with top Indian officials in 2014 to hammer out a diplomatic settlement in the marines case -- a claim India rejected promptly.
Appearing for Italy, Sir Daniel Bethlehem said that in mid-2014, the Italian government sought to engage the Indian government in negotiations for a possible diplomatic solution and that it stated the government would be sensitive to the Indian SC’s involvement in the case. “Italy was carefully minded of the involvement of the Indian Supreme Court in the matter even though it disputed India’s jurisdiction, and Italy sought to formulate proposals for a settlement that would have been taken to the the Indian Supreme Court by both governments as a reflection of their agreement not just on the issues of law but also with regard to the interests of all those engaged by the incident,” Bethlehem said. However, India’s counsel R Bundy countered Italy’s argument, asking it to present evidence related to negotiations. “Italy claimed that India indicated diplomatic solution out of court. But where is the evidence? Certainly it is not in the files,” he said.