The furor in India has calmed down after Rome sent its marines back to the country for further trial in connection with the murder of two Indian fishermen but the move has stirred anger in Italy with many demanding for resignation of Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi.
Italy took a U-turn on its earlier decision not to send the marines back to India after New Delhi assured that they would not be given death penalty even if convicted.
Naval officers Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were brought back to India on Friday after much pressure from New Delhi including ordering restriction of Italy's envoy Daniele Mancini from leaving the country till the next hearing on 2 April.
Rome last week conveyed to New Delhi that it would not send back its marines to India for further trial, causing a furor in India and leading to exchange of words between the countries. It was even speculated that the countries would cut off all the diplomatic ties with each other.
"The good news is that the potential diplomatic crisis has been avoided," Italian deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura, who accompanied the marines to India told reporters at a news conference in New Delhi.
"We are happy with the outcome which is consistent with the dignity of Indian judicial process," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters.
However, the reaction in Italy is different with media in the country bashing the government for reversing its earlier decision. Bari mayor, Michele Emiliano
"A hypocritical government is trying to end its embarrassment by sending the sailors back to India after exhibiting them as 'free' during the election campaign," Bari mayor, Michele Emiliano, tweeted.
The marines were arrested for the alleged murder of two fishermen off the Kerala coast on 15 February last year. They were allowed to stay in Italy for a period of four weeks, which ends on 22 March, by the Supreme Court of India only on assurance by the Italian envoy that they would be sent back to India under the care, supervision and control of the Italian Republic after the completion of the stipulated time.
In an unexpected turnaround last week, Italy conveyed a message to India that it would not send back its marines to India for further trial, causing furor in India.
Then the Supreme Court ordered Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini not to leave India till the next hearing on 2 April, after Italy went back on its commitment to send back the two marines for further trial. This move of the apex court was criticized by Italy and the European Union, claiming that New Delhi has broken the 1960 Vienna Convention that guarantees immunity to ambassadors.
Italy avoided a possible diplomatic breakdown by sending the marines back to India on Friday for further trial.
Meanwhile, New Delhi has assured Rome that the duo will not be given death penalty even if they are found guilty. It is speculated that they would be aloud to serve the jail term in their home country even if convicted.