New Delhi: In an
unprecedented move, India Friday put airports across the country
on alert to prevent Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from
leaving the country as per the apex court's orders. The government
said there were no restrictions on his movements in the country
and it had not violated any protocols of diplomacy.
The union home ministry sounded the alert at airports a day after
the Supreme Court restrained Ambassador Mancini from leaving India
without its permission.
The ambassador was issued notice in the wake of the Italian
government going back on its undertaking to the court that two
marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen would return after
their four weeks' to face trial.
"The prime minister has said the marines not returning is
unacceptable," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told CNN-IBN.
"In the world of diplomacy when such things happen you are
agitated," he said, adding that "this story is not over yet".
Asked if there were restrictions on the envoy's movements, he
denied, saying the ambassador is "absolutely free to move" in the
country. "We only want to know what happened to the guarantee he
has given to the court... That is not violation of the Vienna
He stated that India is bound by the Vienna Convention on
diplomatic protocol. "We are bound by it and will not violate it.
I don't think what the Supreme Court has said is violation of
The Supreme Court Feb 22 allowed the two marines, Massimiliano
Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of killing two Indian
fishermen off Kerala, to fly to Italy to vote in the Feb 24-25
national election. The two marines were to return by March 23.
He said one should wait till Monday, the date the apex court has
issued notice to the diplomat to give its answer.
Italy has not contacted India since March 12 when Mancini was
summoned to South Block by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and
conveyed New Delhi's disapproval.
Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati conveyed the court notices to the
Italian authorities Friday, a source said.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Minister of State for Human Resource
Development Shashi Tharoor said that Ambassador Mancini's position
will become untenable if the two Italian marines don't return to
He denounced the manner the two marines have behaved after leaving
"We have time till the 22nd of March to see if the two return. If
they don't, then the Italian ambassador's position becomes
untenable because it was he who has given the undertaking that the
two will return," said Tharoor.
The two marines shot dead two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki and
Gelastine, Feb 15 last year, allegedly mistaking them for pirates.
Last December, they were allowed to travel to Italy for Christmas,
after which they returned ahead of schedule earlier this year. The
apex court then ruled that they can be tried in Delhi.
Last month they got the Supreme Court's permission to go to Italy
to vote in elections. This time, the Italian government refused to
send them back, triggering a diplomatic row.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought a parliamentary debate on
India's foreign policy.
"If India can be kicked around internationally, then there must be
something seriously wrong with our foreign policy," BJP's Arun
Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha.
He referred in this connection to snubs which he said had been
delivered in recent times by the Maldives, Italy and Pakistan to
India. Jaitley said there was a serious need to discuss the