New Delhi: Two Italian marines charged with murder in India are on their way back to New Delhi after the government in Rome agreed they should return to face trial, the foreign ministry said on Friday.
“They are on their way back to Delhi,” Syed Akbaruddin, Indian foreign ministry spokesman told AFP, following Italy’s turnaround late Thursday after its earlier decision unleashed a diplomatic furore.
Rome had announced on March 11 that the marines would not return from special leave granted to them by India’s supreme court, so they could go to Italy to vote in national elections.
Akbaruddin said the marines’ return was “no occasion for gloating”, despite the dramatic reversal by Rome.
The two marines are accused of having shot dead two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates off the Indian port of Kochi last year. They were serving as security guards on an Italian oil tanker.
Rome insists the marines should be prosecuted in their home country because the shootings involved an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters. India says the killings took place in waters under its jurisdiction.