A crisis in relations between India and Italy stirred up in February 2012 when Italian marines, who guarded a tanker, attacked an Indian trawler and killed two fishermen mistaken for pirates off the Kerala coast.
Last year, the Indian authorities allowed the arrested marines to return home to celebrate the Easter holidays for humanitarian reasons. However, when the Italian authorities tried to obstruct them to return to India, the dispute fueled a diplomatic row. The Italian ambassador was banned to leave India. Eventually, the scandal was covered up and the marines returned to India, while the Indian authorities reassured the Italian ambassador free movement.
On Friday, India’s Prosecutor General said that the Italian marines would be tried under anti-piracy and anti-terror legislation. Although he said that the prosecution would not demand death penalty for them, Italy sharply responded for the use of tough laws. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said the use of anti-piracy legislation is absolutely unacceptable, and it would bring about negative consequences in relations with Italy and the European Union.
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton also issued a similar warning against India, says expert at the Institute of Strategic Research Boris Volkhonsky.
“The determination to defend its citizens is a duty of any country, of course. However, in this case, a trend peculiar to the colonial thinking can be seen although colonialism was put to an ended on the world scene long ago. According to the old vicious logic, the right of force is superior to the force of law. Consequently, crimes committed by the residents from the “third world” countries in Western countries are justified by large-scale attacks on these countries, which have nothing to do with these crimes. Meanwhile, the killings of civilians in the countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America by “white people” are not considered as crimes at all.
“Italy has never been a leading colonial power. However, it seems that the involvement in NATO operations in Afghanistan where the occupied forces kill not only terrorists but also Afghan civilians has left a mark on thinking-style of the Italian military and the authorities. The former proceeds from the principle, “at first shoot, and we will look into the matter later”, while the latter justifies any violence against local people,” Volhonsky said.
India has not yet definitely said whether it will apply anti-piracy legislation against the Italian marines. The Supreme Court will examine the issue on February 18. However, the EU will clearly exert growing pressure on the Indian judicial bodies.
In fact, on a background against the justification of murder and the interference in the activity of judicial bodies of a sovereign state is seemed to be a minor thing, which the ruling bodies of the Western countries do not consider a wrongdoing.