Italian marines
Italian sailors Salvatore Girone (right) and Massimiliano Latorre Reuters

Amid a diplomatic row over the refusal of Italian government to send back its two marines to India for trial, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini not to leave the country.

The Supreme Court issued the notice after Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy filed a plea against the Italian ambassador for contempt of court. Mancini has been asked to respond to the notice by Monday and a hearing of the case is due on the next day.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday warned Italy of consequences in the relation between the countries if the Italian government fails to keep its word. He also requested the Houses to take the matter seriously and act together.

"Our government has already made it clear that these actions of the government of Italy are not acceptable. They violate every rule of diplomatic discourse and call into question solemn commitments given by accredited representative of a government," said the PM in Parliament.

"I urge the Italian authorities to respect the undertakings to the Honourable Supreme Court and return the two accused persons to stand trial. We will continue to urge this course of action through diplomatic channels. If they do not keep their word there will be consequences for our relations with Italy."

The Indian PM made the statement after the government of Italy sent a message that they are not sending back the two marines to India.

Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone were arrested for the murder of two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year, while on anti-piracy duty of guarding an Italian oil tanker. They were permitted by the Supreme Court to go home and vote in Italy's general election held last month, but they refused to return to India for trial.

The Foreign Secretary on Tuesday summoned Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini and conveyed India's stand on the matter in the strongest of terms saying, "India expects Republic of Italy as a country that is committed to the rule of law to fulfill the sovereign undertaking given by it to the Supreme Court of India".

The two marines were allowed to stay in Italy for a period of four weeks 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.

Hinting that the relation between the countries could be strained, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin said that the government will take further action after analyzing its relationship with Italy.

In the meanwhile, foreign minister of Italy, Giulio Terzi told reporters in Isreal, "We have juridically solid reasons to proceed in the direction of international arbitration."

Amid speculations that the unprecedented breach of trust could lead to complete diplomatic breakdown between the countries, including shutting down of Italy's embassy in India and closing its own embassy there, if Rome doesn't send back the accused marines, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reportedly called on both the countries to resolve the issue amicably.