New Delhi, March 15: India has today downgraded its diplomatic ties with Italy. With this action India has put Italy in a spot and by default made its envoy a persona non grata, at least unofficially.
India has asked its Ambassador- designate to Italy Basant Kumar Gupta, who was scheduled to leave for Rome today, not to proceed to take up his posting. The decision means that the Indian mission will now be headed by somebody below the rank of a ambassador.
Going by the reciprocal arrangement, Itlay will be compelled to withdraw its envoy to downgrade its embassy. In the event of him trying to leave the country, the ambassador will be at risk of violating the order of Supreme Court.
The Indian government has already asked the airports to prevent current Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country. A persona non grata is the most serious form of censure which one country can apply to foreign diplomats under the Vienna Convention that governs diplomatic relations.
The Article 41 of the Convention says, "without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State."
The Indian government, which is reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral ties, decided to put on the posting of Gupta , after Italian government renegaded on its promise to send back two marines, facing trial for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen. Gupta was expected to take charge by end of next week.
Gupta was named successor to Debabrata Saha, who retired in December last.
Yesterday, the government had announced decision to initiate review of entire gamut of relations with Italy which includes diplomatic, trade and defence ties apart from reaching out to European Union, which was briefed on India's views and position in the matter.
Official spokesman in the Ministry of External Affairs said the "entire expanse of our interaction" with Italy was being reviewed while stressing that Italy has to "respect and abide" by the agreements between it and the Supreme Court.
The apex court also issued notices to Mancini and the two marines --Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone-- and asked them to file their response by March 18 and posted the matter for further hearing next Monday.