India asks for Davy's extradition, assures Italy on Marines case

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 06, 2012 14:50 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) In his first overseas visit after becoming external affairs minister, Salman Khurshid held a series of bilateral meetings with the prime ministers of Italy and Denmark and his counterparts from Germany, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday.

In his discussions with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti Tuesday, Khurshid urged him to await the verdict of Indian courts on the two Italian Marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala. The Italian prime minister requested a brief interaction with Khurshid on the margins of the ASEM Summit in Vientiane, official sources said here.

Last month, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi had criticised what he called the Indian justice system's dithering over the two Italian Marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in February.

Indian fishermen Ajesh Binki and Gelastine were allegedly mistaken as pirates and shot dead by the Marines posted as security crew of the cargo vessel Enrica Lexie off the Kerala coast Feb 15.

Italy maintains that Indian courts do not have jurisdiction to try the marines as the incident occurred in international waters. It has stressed that the two men were entitled to immunity as they were fulfilling a "sovereign act" of protecting the ship against suspected pirates.

New Delhi has stuck to its stand that since the case was going on in an Indian court, it was for the court to decide.

Khurshid also held a meeting with Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, during which issues relating to the extradition of Purulia arms drop accused Kim Davy figured prominently.

"During the meeting, Denmark's prime minister recognised that the developments regarding the extradition of Kim Davy to India required to be addressed," said official sources here.

Khurshid stressed on the need to move forward on this issue, he said.

Denmark's leader assured Khurshid that the Danish side would undertake further techno-legal examination of the issue and initiate discussions on that basis, said the sources.

Kim Davy's extradition has become an irritant in bilateral ties. On December 17, 1995, an AN-26 aircraft dropped sophisticated arms, including AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition, in West Bengal's Purulia district. Davy, the prime accused in the case, managed to escape.

Khurshid and Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni reviewed a gamut of bilateral relations. Khurshid agreed to visit Dhaka for the next joint consultative committee meeting next year. Dates will be finalised through diplomatic channels, said the sources.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told Khurshid that his country looked forward to an early conclusion of the India-EU Free Trade Accord (FTA). The two ministers reiterated the need to pursue the G-4 draft resolution and expedite reform of the UN Security Council, said the sources.

Khurshid also had bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand.

More from Sify: