NEW DELHI, March 19 (Xinhua) -- India's ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi Tuesday slammed Italy for its refusal to send back two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of the southern state of Kerala last year, saying " no country can take India for granted."
"The defiance of the Italian government on the question of the two marines and its betrayal of a commitment to our Supreme Court is outright unacceptable. No country can, should, or will be allowed to take India for granted. All means must be pursued to ensure that the commitment made by the Italian government to our Supreme Court is honored," Gandhi said in the national capital.
Gandhi, herself of Italian origin, broke her silence a day after the country's Supreme Court said it "lost trust" in Italy's Ambassador Daniele Mancini who gave personal assurance to the court that the marines -- Massimilian Latorre and Salvatore Girone- - would come back after casting their votes in Italy's recent general elections.
"A person who comes to court and gives an undertaking has no immunity," a three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, said, while reiterating its last week's order restraining him to leave India till April 2, the next date of hearing.
In fact, the apex court had earlier allowed the two marines to go to Italy for four weeks to cast their votes. But last week, Rome refused to send back the two marines to face trial in a special court to be set up in the Indian capital soon.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has warned Italy of " consequences on bilateral relations" if the marines don't return to face trial.
The two marines are accused of shooting dead the two India fishermen off Kerala coast in February 2012, after allegedly mistaking them for pirates. They were arrested by the police in Kerala last year and subsequently released on bail.
The incident has sparked diplomatic row between the two countries. While Italy says that the duo should be tried in an international court, India insists the shooting took place in its territorial waters and so the marines should be tried in India.