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India risks global anti-piracy efforts - Italian task force

New Delhi worsening relations with treatment of marines

14 February, 13:25
India risks global anti-piracy efforts - Italian task force (see previous) (ANSA) - Rome, February 14 - The Indian government, in pressing its case against Italian marines accused of killing two men while on an anti-piracy mission, risks damaging global efforts to fight piracy, an Italian task force on the marines said Friday. It is also worsening relations between Italy and India, warned the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the marines in a note to cabinet.

India is said to be re-assessing terrorism charges against the marines, with the government reportedly asking its justice ministry to weigh charging Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone under the country's penal code rather than the draconian SUA law, India's tough interpretation of an international treaty against terrorism and piracy framed after the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, The Indian Express said Friday.

New Delhi, which has already taken the SUA-mandated death penalty off the table, appears to be gradually ceding to pressure not just from Rome but from the European Union and the United Nations.

Indian must tread carefully, the Italian task force warned.

"The eventual action by the Indian the law on maritime security (would risk) impairing the dignity of Italy and the marines, and would have negative consequences in relations with India and in the global fight against piracy," said the task force.

The two Italian marines have been awaiting charges for the alleged murder of Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after the marines reportedly opened fire on their fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala in February 2012.