New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Expressing satisfaction at the resolution of the impasse over Italian marines, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Friday there was no alternative to diplomacy on sensitive issues between nations.
“The Italian marines issue is resolved. I am telling parliament the background’ that it is important that we must not lose faith in diplomacy,” Khurshid told IANS on the sidelines of a conference here organised by the BRICS Chambers of Commerce.
“As I’ve said before, this (Italian marines affair) has proved that diplomacy will take you through where one might think that there is no other path (out of an impasse),” Khurshid added.
Following Italy’s announcement that the marines will return to India to face trial, the external affairs minister told both houses of parliament that India had given assurances after clarifications were sought on death penalty, “which was an Italian concern”.
He said the government had informed the Italian government that the two marines will not be liable for arrest if they return within the time frame laid down by India’s Supreme Court and the trial will now proceed as per the apex court’s directions.
“The Supreme Court can be informed about the development next week as per legal procedures,” said Khurshid.
Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that the marines – Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone – would return to India by March 22 after voting in the Italian national elections.
However, on March 11, Italy informed India the marines would not be sent back, leading to a diplomatic stand-off. The ambassador was restrained by the apex court from leaving India for reneging on his word.
“The two countries have different points of view, you have to converge that through diplomacy,” Khurshid told IANS.
The minister said that contact and talks between both countries continued even through the diplomatic stand-off.
“We’ll continue talking, we never switch off talking,” Khurshid said.