Diplomacy done its work in marine’s return: Salman Khurshid

New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Friday said diplomacy has done its work and secured the return of the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen to India to stand trial.

“You shouldn’t write off diplomacy too soon. At least one can say diplomacy continues to work when every one else thinks everything else has failed. Please give diplomacy a little more chance to do what needs to be done,” Khurshid told reporters here.
He also credited Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the assurance from Italy that the marines would return.
“The diplomacy that we do under this government is obviously given a direction by the prime minister and Congress president, it is the government that is led by them. For anyone else among us to take credit for it would be unbecoming,” Khurshid said.
The minister added that the Supreme Court can be informed about the development next week as per legal procedures. He also said that he would take parliament into confidence over the development.
“We will take parliament on board, this will be shared with parliament, because this was a very huge issue while parliament was in session,” he added.
The two Italian marines facing trial for killing two Indian fishermen last year are headed back to India, the government announced Friday.
“Following diplomatic contacts, Italy informed (us) that the marines will return to India in accordance with the timeline provided to Supreme Court,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, in a tweet post.
Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini had earlier given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that the marines would return to India by March 22 after voting in national elections there.
But on March 11, the Italian embassy informed India that the marines would not be sent back to face trial in India. This led to a diplomatic stand off with Italy. The ambassador was restrained by the apex court from leaving India.
The marines, posted aboard oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie on security duty, had Feb 15, 2012, opened fire at a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala, suspecting that the boat carried pirates. Two fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, were killed in the firing.