NEW DELHI, India — A diplomatic row between Italy and India looks set to intensify after the Italian Foreign Ministry said two marines charged with murdering two Indian fishermen would not return to India to face trial.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are currently in Italy after the Indian Supreme Court gave them special permission to return home for Christmas and last month’s elections, the BBC reported.
The men were working as guards on the tanker Enrica Lexie when they allegedly shot dead the fishermen after mistaking them for pirates off the southern state of Kerala in February 2012, Bloomberg reported.
According to Reuters, Rome said Delhi had not responded to requests for a “diplomatic solution” to the incident and there was a now a “formal dispute” between the countries over international maritime laws.
Indians reacted angrily to Italy's decision. The hashtag #ItalianMarines was trending on twitter throughout the day, with some users contributing bitter jokes and others excoriating Italy for breaking its word to return the suspects for trial.
Italy's decision not to send the marines back for trial coincided with an agreement to send New Delhi details Rome had previously refused to share about a bribery scandal surrounding the procurement of Italian helicopters.
Many are speculating about a backroom deal.