New Delhi: The return of Italian mariners was celebrated as diplomatic triumph by the UPA Government, with opposition claiming huge share of credits for its pressure tactics. Italy, however, did not allow the government to relish perceived victory as it said that row with India was intentional to shield its soldier from death row.
"We would not have been able to negotiate the current conditions, which envisage (good) conditions of everyday living and the guarantee that the death penalty will not applied,” said Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi.
The two marines charged with the killing of fishermen have arrived in India, just in time to meet the deadline set by the Supreme Court for their return. Before their return, an agreement at the ‘highest level’ was made that under any circumstances, the Italians would not be executed.
Another interesting cause added by Rome was that the marines would live in the Italian Embassy, whose premises are immune to Indian law. That would mean that Indian authorities would not be able to reach the marines until they wish to be approached.
Indian Government can claim the credit for bringing back the accused. But this has left Italy and the marines in a win-win situation. When Italians had what they wanted, the magnitude of government’s so-called victory is debatable.