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India, Italy discuss deaths of 2 Indian fishermen

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image talian Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Staffan De Mistura greets officials at the Indian Foreign Ministry in New Delhi

A top Italian diplomat met senior officials in New Delhi yesterday  to discuss the case of two Italian marines arrested in the shooting deaths of two Indian fishermen mistaken for pirates.
New Delhi says the marines must be tried in India because the victims were on an Indian boat and were Indians. Rome says the Feb. 15 shooting was from an Italian-flagged cargo ship in international waters and the case should be handled in Italian courts.
Staffan De Mistura, Italy’s foreign ministry undersecretary, told reporters in New Delhi that his talks with Indian officials were “constructive,” but gave few details.
The two marines were part of a six-member security team on the cargo ship the Enrica Lexie. The killings took place off the coast of the southern state of Kerala. De Mistura said he plans to visit the area to meet with the families of the fishermen as well as with the Italian marines.
The two men were arrested Sunday and appeared in a Kerala court on Monday. The court has ordered police to hold them until Thursday, when the judge will announce whether their custody will be extended.
Preneet Kaur, India’s deputy foreign minister, said while the two sides disagreed on where the men should be tried, she had assured the Italians that Indian courts are “fair and free.”
“We will certainly go by our law,” she said.
Italy maintains that under U.N. anti-piracy norms, military personnel are allowed on cargo ships and are part of the Italian state and thus immune from the jurisdiction of foreign states.
De Mistura’s trip comes after a delegation of Italian officials from the foreign, defense and justice ministries met with Indian officials on Sunday without reaching any agreement.

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