Manmohan to meet PMs of Italy, Norway

Seoul: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet his Italian counterpart Mario Monti on Monday against the backdrop of a row over arrest of two Italian naval officers for killing of Indian fishermen.

At the meeting of the two leaders on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, Monti is also expected to raise the issue of abduction of two Italian nationals by Maoists in Odisha.

Relations between India and Italy have been strained ever since two Italian marines on board a cargo ship shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast last month, suspecting them to be pirates.

Monti had spoken to Singh earlier this month and cautioned him of setting a dangerous precedent by arresting two Italian marines.

He had told Singh that the incident had happened in international waters and the jurisdiction of the same had to be done in Italy.

The two, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, have been imprisoned in Kerala pending a murder investigation despite pressure from Italy for them to be handed over to Italian authorities for prosecution.

The Kerala high court had observed that killing of two Indian fishermen by the Italian marines onboard a merchant ship was a "terrorist act" as they had fired at unarmed men.

"There are ongoing issues. They want to talk, we want to talk," sources said when asked about the meeting. "We need to talk to come to a solution," they said.

Meanwhile, Singh will also meet Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg soon after meeting Monti.

The meeting comes in the wake of two children of NRI parents being taken into foster care in Norway. India had raised the issue with Norway and even rushed a special enovy to secure their release.

However, the entire episode took a sudden twist when their father made known his intention to divorce his wife on grounds of harassment and their uncle backtracking from taking custody of them.