Sun, 24 Mar 2019

New Delhi [India], Dec 12 (ANI): Former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said that both India and Italy have to honour the decision to be made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in connection to the alleged killing of two Indian fishermen off southern India by two Italian marines.

In 2012, the two Indian fishermen were shot dead off the coast of Kerala allegedly by the two Italian marines -- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone aboard the Italian-flagged commercial oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie. However, the Italian marines, who have not been charged over the killings, claimed the fishermen to be pirates.

While India said that the incident took place on Indian waters, Italy claimed that the shooting took place on international waters during a UN mission. The incident led to diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

The two Italian marines were arrested by the Indian authorities soon after the incident, however, both were allowed to return to Italy in 2015 after a Hamburg-based sea-law court ruled that India had no jurisdiction in the case and transferred the matter to the ICJ in The Hague.

Responding to the same, Letta told ANI, "It is no more a bilateral case. It is an international case. We have to respect the decisions at the international level. We have to work to recuperate the good relations between India and Italy. In the last six to seven years, there were mutual misunderstandings but now it is over. We have to respect what the ICJ will decide."

"We have to work together in many issues. We have to consider that the future of relations between the two countries is very important today," he added.

Talking about his two-day visit to India, Letta said that he was in the country for strengthening and extending university-level cooperation between the European Union and India.

"My university, that is Sciences Po University in Paris is working very much on strengthening cooperation. We happy to have many Indian students in Paris. We are keen to expand this number," noted Letta, who served as the Prime Minister of Italy between 2013 to 2014.

He said that Italy is keen to extend cooperation not only to attract Indian students to Paris but also to have more European students in India and to have more common research programmes.

Underlining that India is a key partner in the education sector, the former Italian Premier said, " During my experience as a professor and a dean, Indian students are the best. They are flexible, smart and adapt. I am very happy working with them."

Asserting the need to cooperate in key sectors, Letta further said, "We need to work more on innovation, education and trade issues. We also have to cooperate in climate change because it is a common interest for all of us. The future of the children is in our hands and we have to work together."

Acknowledging that corruption is a major issue between the two countries, the former Italian Prime Minister elaborated, "We think corruption is a big enemy of competitiveness. It is very important to have a multilateral system and a robust political leadership fighting against corruption. Since I am out of politics and into education, I try to teach students that corruptio

n is the worst enemy of growth, competitiveness and inclusiveness." (ANI)

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