Live: Mr PM we hope you walk the talk on Italy, says BJP
Tracking the latest developments in the diplomatic standoff between India and Italy.
3.54 pm: Mr Prime Minister hope you walk the talk, says BJP
Prasad said he hoped the Prime Minister would walk his talk in Parliament, adding that he now hoped that government doesn't say now 'we didn't have information.'
"That won't be acceptable", he said.
The BJP spokesman said it was clearly time for the government to take stringent action, against Italy, especially given that the country's ambassador had provided the Supreme Court with a signed affidavit.
3.48 pm: Why this special indulgence to Italian marines? asks BJP
BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad asked why the government was allowing the Italian marines to return home on every whim and fancy.. "I can understand if it was a special circumstance like a marriage or a funeral. But to vote and for Christmas?" he said.
Prasad added that there were 3601 foreign prisoners in India of which 3230 are male, and 371 are female. "Have these foreigners been given special treatment to attend Christmas or Eid or whatever it is?" he asked, adding that Indian prisoners in other countries got no such concessions.
He also demanded to know what advice the government had given the Italian lawyers, and said that the entire incident highlighted the palpable indifference of the Indian government.
2.20 pm: MHA says diplomatic immunity should not be a factor in Italy marines trial
The Ministry of Home Affairs has reportedly told the Ministry of External Affairs that diplomatic immunity should not come in the way of the trial of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala. The statement came as Parliament unanimously expressed their outrage at the incident, which opposition leaders called a massive slap on the face to the Supreme Court and constitution of India.
1.40 pm: India to await Italy's response, says Foreign Secretary
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has said that India will await a response from Italy before taking call on future course of action on its refusal to send two of its marines back to face trial in India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a tough talking speech in Parliament, saying that Italy would "face consequences" if the marines were not sent back immediately.
Meanwhile Italian ambassador to India, Daniele Mancini who stood as guarantor to the Supreme Court to ensure that the marines would return to India, said that he was confident a solution could be reached.
I am confident that the two mature democracies such as ours will overcome these difficulties. We are working with Indian institutions and government to do whatever best can be done to overcome these current difficult moments. We will not shy away from this. It is very much present in our mind", he said.
1.35 pm: This must be the first instance of state sponsored abduction, says Jaitley
Leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, has said that Italy's 'unacceptable' actions must be the first recorded instance of state sponsored abduction, adding that it was imperative that India's constitution and Supreme Court were not disrespected.
12.18 pm: Italy must return marines or face consequences, says PM
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that Italy's actions violate every rule of diplomatic resolve, and said that the government would "insist that Italy respect the undertakings they have given to the Supreme Court and return the two accused persons to stand trial in India"
"If they do not keep their word there will be consequences", added the Prime Minister, who also said that Italy's behaviour "cannot be in the interest of any bilateral relationship on the basis of trust between nations".
He also urged Members of Parliament to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves and speak together as the government moves forward on this issue.
The Prime Ministers speech was heavily applauded by members of the house.
Meanwhile Italian ambassador to India, Daniele Mancini said, "I am confident that the two mature democracies such as ours will overcome these difficulties. We are working with Indian institutions and government to do whatever best can be done to overcome these current difficult moments. We will not shy away from this. It is very much present in our mind".
12.09 pm: Italy marine crisis a test for India, don't fail it, says Jaswant
BJP leader Jaswant Singh told the government that the Italy marines issue was a test and India was being watched by the international community to see how it protected the lives of its own citizens. "It is important that diplomatic issues should not be allowed to override the constitution", he said, adding that it was imperative that the government 'rise to the occasion' and make India's position clear.
11.41 am: Italy envoy says he is working to overcome this 'difficulty'
Italian ambassador to India, Daniele Mancini has been quoted by ANI News as saying that he is "working with Indian Govt and institutions to do whatever we can to overcome this difficulty".
The statement comes amid reports that India is mulling the option of declaring him persona non grata and asking him to leave India if the two Italian marines are not sent back to India to face trial in the next 10 days. Mancini had given the Supreme Court an undertaking that the marines would return to India after casting their votes in the general elections.
Technically, the marines, who were given a four-week leave, can still be made to return to India by 22 March. But if Italy doesn’t deliver them in order to face trial in India, media reports said, the Supreme Court could summon the Italian Ambassador to explain himself and for likely contempt proceedings. If, however, Mancini cites diplomatic immunity – to which he is entitled – that would give the Indian government sufficient grounds to send him packing. (Read more her
11.21 am: Will debate Italy marine issue at a suitable time, says PM to Lok Sabha
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stands up in an effort to placate the shouting MPs but fails miserably.
"I share the concern of the house in this matter. We are ready to discuss the matter, at a suitable time", he said but disappointed MPs who were probably expecting a statement on the marines, loudly voiced their disappointment, prompting Meira Kumar to shout "Nothing is going on record! No! No! No! No!
Meanwhile Shahnawaz Husain has his own grouse, saying that for a moment he was happy thinking that the Prime Minister was standing to reply to his question only to find that this was not the case. Hilarity from everyone except the PM, who then rises to answer the question.
"It is true that the economy has slowed down during the last two years", he said, saying that the international economic scenario was mostly to blame, although there were also domestic factors. "Nothing is achieved by dampening the spirit of the people. Although we are in difficulties, we are confident that we will return to our former rate of growth".
Some applause from the government benches.
11.05 am: Lok Sabha begins, BJP raise Italy marines issue amid uproar
The Lok Sabha has begun with the BJP clamouring for the suspension of question hour to discuss the diplomatic standoff between India and Italy over its stand on the issue. The government said that it was willing to have a discussion or debate on the issue, but the BJP were refusing to 'bhaith jaiye' depsite Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar's pleas.
"It is causing great anguish and I said I will allow you in the zero hour", said Kumar to the MPs who were silent for the duration of her statement, but immediately resumed shouting, not allowing Shahnawaz Hussain to ask his question.
He manages however to ask his question which is based on economic matters, and Minister of Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla is attempting to reply. But given all the chanting and sloganeering, only the two of them know what is being discussed.
10.31 am: Kerala Chief Minister says he will take up issue with Prime Minister
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that he will bring up the issue of the Italian marines with the Prime Minister today. The issue, which relates to the shooting and killing of two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala, is likely to become a huge issue in Parliament today. The BJP has already said it will bring up the issue, while the government is also expected to make a statement in this regard.
But is Chandy's 'concern' nothing but hollow words?
Firstpost editor G Pramod Kumar spoke to us yesterday about how Kerala does not seem to give a damn about the Italian marines at all!
10.25 am: What should India do now? Take our poll
9.35 am: Indian lawyer for Italians says he cannot represent them anymore
Harish Salve, who was hired by the Italian embassy to represent them in the case of the Italian marines has said that Italy's actions were a breach of faith and that he would no longer be able to represent them.
In a statement Salve added that the Italian Government should have, in the least, forewarned its Indian lawyers of the change of its position before communicating it to the Government of India.
His full statement is as follows:
"It was an act of faith in a friendly government that the Government of India did not oppose this request, and an act of grace on the part of the Supreme Court of India to grant the permission sought for. I consider this action of the Republic of Italy as a breach of faith. It is my perception that the Italian Government should have, in the least, forewarned its Indian lawyers of the change of its position before communicating it to the Government of India. In these circumstances, I have informed the Italian ambassador that it will no longer be possible for me to appear for me to be associated with this case"
9.24 am: Government to make statement in Parliament
The government is likely to issue a statement in Parliament in relation to the Italy marines issue, according to a report from Times Now. The opposition has already said it will flag the issue in Parliament, and the government is likely to make a statement, said the channel.
9.00 am: Sushma blasts Italy marines diplomatic 'send off', to raise issue in Parliament
BJP leader and leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj, has called the dispute over the Italian marines a 'diplomatic send off' and not a 'diplomatic stand off', adding that she would raise the issue in Parliament.
Sushma's reactions came even as the Ministry of External Affairs talked tough, calling the Italian stand 'unacceptable'. There is also a chance that the Italian ambassador to India, Daniele Mancini may be declared persona non grata and asked to leave India if the two Italian marines are not sent back to India to face trial in the next 10 days.
Technically, the marines, who were given a four-week leave, can still be made to return to India by 22 March. But if Italy doesn’t deliver them in order to face trial in India, media reports said, the Supreme Court could summon the Italian Ambassador to explain himself and for likely contempt proceedings. If, however, Mancini cites diplomatic immunity – to which he is entitled – that would give the Indian government sufficient grounds to send him packing. (Read more here)
The Times Now channel reported yesterday that they had accessed a document purportedly signed between India and Italy, which effectively said that the marines would be sent home, even if they are found guilty of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala.