Mumbai News: Italian Naval Ship On Indian Waters After 11 Years

Mumbai News: Italian Naval Ship On Indian Waters After 11 Years

Francesco Morosini is a second of the seven multipurpose offshore patrol vessels which are a part of the renewal plan of the Italian Navy fleet.

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Friday, August 11, 2023, 12:58 AM IST
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Italian marine patrol vessel ITS Francesco Morosini is on a port call to Mumbai after a decade of strained Indo-Italian relationship.

Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre were arrested by India for gunning down the unarmed men off the southern Indian coast in February 2012 while protecting an Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie.

Francesco Morosini is a second of the seven multipurpose offshore patrol vessels which are a part of the renewal plan of the Italian Navy fleet.

Indo-Italian bilateral ties

Italian Ambassador to India Vincenzo De Luca. addressing select media on board the marine patrol vessel, said that Italy and India have elevated the bilateral relation with strategic partnership post the bilateral submission between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni held in Delhi in March.

“Strategic partnership means that we collaborate strategically and closely in sensitive sectors like defence , space, cyber, advance technology. This is a league forward in the partnership between the two countries and today we have the celebration of this partnership with the visit of Francesco Morosini. This is a historic visit that has come after a very long time,” said the Italian Ambassador.

Geo-political significance

The first ever maritime visit to India after a legal saga that has dogged relations between Rome and New Delhi for almost a decade assumes major diplomatic and geo-political significance in the Indian ocean.

India had in April 2021 accepted a compensation offer of Rs10 crore after the Supreme Court had ruled that Rs4 crore each would be given to the families and the remaining Rs2 crore to the owner of the boat used by the fishermen and closed the criminal proceedings that were initiated in India against the Italian marines.

India seeking Italy's help

Ambassador Vincenzo De Luca offered help to India in its Make in India initiative to make the latter self-reliant in defence and space sectors. “There are specific technologies where Italy can provide added value to the programme like radar, helicopter, electronic warfare and the shipyards in India,” said the Italian Ambassador. Italy had signed MoUs with Cochin and Hindustan shipyards on several partnerships.

“In the framework of the current Italian Navy’s five-months naval diplomacy campaign throughout the Indo-Pacific area, this visit aims at demonstrating Italy’s commitment towards the region and at strengthening bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding between Navies and showing the excellence of Italian naval and defence industry,” he added.

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