NEW DELHI, Feb 28 (IANS): India and Italy Tuesday agreed to "clear the air" over two Indian fishermen being killed by the crew of an Italian ship but maintained that differences over legal issues remained.
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told a joint press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant' Agata here that the "unfortunate" incident of killing of two Indian fishermen earlier this month had caused "very strong public opinion on both sides".
"We have agreed to clear the air," Krishna said, assuring that both nations had expressed their "will and commitment" to strengthen their partnership.
Terzi is in India on a two-day visit beginning Tuesday. He had met Krishna ahead of the media interaction.
Terzi, in his remarks at the press conference, said the two sides continued to have "differences of opinion" over the legal aspects of the killing of the fishermen.
He said Italy maintained that international maritime laws applied in the case.
India holds that its domestic laws will apply in the trial of the two Italian marines, currently in Indian police custody in Kochi.
Terzi, who expressed Italy and its people's condolences to India and the families of fishermen killed, said the "unfortunate" incident took place due to the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean region.
India and Italy, he said, should jointly fight the "scourge" of piracy in the region.