It is a huge diplomatic win for us as the two Italian marines were returned to India in order to stand trial for shooting two fishermen off the coast of Kerala last winter. There may be vested political interests in it, but the Government of India taking a stand when white men turn into offenders in criminal acts, is a rare thing to happen, and deserves attention.
It is not just the two flags, India and Italy are similar in many more ways. Corruption is the insignia of both countries. Italian politicians also abuse power with a sense of achievement, divert public funds to private purpose and enable corporates to do business with the mafia. Rome, like Mumbai or Kolkata, is home to gifted pickpockets. Italians are chaotic, break traffic rules with pride and shout at each other. However, it must be noted, that Italians do not play games with their national pride.
Our track record of foreign diplomacy when it comes to catch foreign criminals by the neck is shameful. The Government provided state facilities for the Bhopal tragedy murderer Anderson to escape. A grave security breach occurred in 1995 when an unauthorized aircraft dropped large quantities of arms in Purulia, but the Danish and the British involved in it were allowed to escape, while the case still remains un-investigated and unresolved. Ottavio Quattrocchi of the Bofors scandal was allowed to escape, which leaves serious questions on the Nehru-Gandhi family and its flatterers.
The current government, clouded by forthcoming elections and judging by the national mood, had been trying to do false display of strength and national integrity lately – through the quick hangings of Kasab or Afzal Guru. The killer marine incident occurred during this serious political turmoil, and was immediately brought on table by both the mass and the citizen media. The marines were allowed to travel back to Italy for four weeks to vote in their national election. The Italian envoy to Delhi had given a written assurance in court that they would return to stand trial.
Soon there was a dramatic turnaround of events when Italy announced that the marines will not return, thereby triggering a massive diplomatic crisis between the two countries. Politically, the Indian government was in a serious catch-22 situation with another Quattrocchisque albatross about to get hung around its neck. The Supreme Court came to the rescue and banned the Italian envoy, Daniele Mancini from leaving India, a move welcomed by the Indian citizens and criticized equally by the European Union.
The courts decision now awaits. In a dramatic turn of events, Indian foreign diplomats has shown some spine and now has the upper hand. Hope the marines do not turn out to be another Anderson, another Quattrocchi. If so, then we deserve to be ruled by the them.