Monti to Manmohan
The official government of India press release about a conversation between the Indian and Italian prime ministers, economists both, on March 7 is very bland:
The Italian Prime Minister Mr. Mario Monti called the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, today regarding the tragic incident off the coast of Kerala which led to the loss of two precious lives. The Italian Prime Minister condoled the deaths of the two fishermen and expressed regret at the incident. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of deepening relations between India and Italy and agreed that the issues that had arisen following the incident should be resolved amicably in accordance with law and in the spirit of friendship that characterizes relations between the two countries. The two leaders said that they were looking forward to meeting each other at the forthcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.
The truth is more colourful, for once. Right wing elements in Italy are seeing this as a chance to go on the streets. The government of Italy is beginning to use colourful diplomatic language. Midday has the most comprehensive report:
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti rang up his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh Wednesday and warned him against setting a “dangerous precedent” with the jailing and prosecution of two Italian naval guards in India. The two leaders, however, agreed to resolve the issue in accordance with “law and spirit of friendship”.
According to a statement from the Italian government, Monti reiterated the Italian stand that the incident took place in international waters.
“Any attitude from the Indian side that is not fully in line with international law… risks creating a dangerous precedent for international peacekeeping and anti-piracy missions,” Monti was quoted as saying. “Missions in which Indian military are also involved,” he stressed.
“The alleged incident — the circumstances of which still have to be clarified — occurred in international waters and jurisdiction is therefore only Italian,” Monti also told Manmohan Singh, according to a government statement. Monti said he was following the case with “maximum attention and concern”.
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi summoned India’s ambassador in Rome to condemn the imprisonment of two Italian marines accused of shooting two Indian fishermen, with New Delhi maintaining that they will be tried according to Indian law.
Terzi conveyed to India’s ambassador Debabrata Saha that the imprisonment of the two soldiers in a prison in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, ordered by a judge Monday was “unacceptable,” the Italian foreign ministry spokesman said.
Amid growing outrage in Italy over the arrests, Terzi stressed that the preferential treatment afforded to Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are currently being housed in a separate structure within the prison, was “not satisfactory.”
Manmohan Singh’s bland reply is quoted by TOI:
Singh reportedly told Monti that he wanted “to avoid tensions between India and Italy” and that he would look into the possibility of “a transfer of the two marines from prison to a place of custody more suited to their status.”
If only some people on the Italian ship had not lost their head, if only they had refrained from killing innocent fishermen off the coast of India, the unelected government of Italy could have gone on with their appointed job of cleaning their country.