The blazing row between India and Italy over the latter’s refusal to send back the two marines accused of killing two fishermen is proof, if proof were needed, that in the globalised world, the political interests of the States are beginning to have a say in the manner in which national diplomacy is framed.
If it is Kerala in this episode, it is Tamil Nadu vis-a-vis Sri Lanka on the issue of Tamils or Russia in the case of the Koodankulam nuclear plant. Orissa has draw India into a diplomatic kerfuffle with South Korea over Posco, while West Bengal is drawing the contours of ties with Bangladesh on the issue of Teesta waters, and so on.
In Italy’s case, of course, the matter gets all the more complicated given that country’s deep and subliminal link with India. Two countries joined at the hip in its fractious coalition politics, the corruption of its leaders, its food, Ottavio Quattrocchi, Agusta Westland choppers and of course, Sonia Gandhi.
The Italian marines’ issue as seen by Talk, the Bangalore weekly edited by S.R. Ramakrishna. Illustrations by Satish Acharya.
External reading: Swapan Dasgupta on l’affaire Italia