Two festering diplomatic rows will feature in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's talks with his Italian and Norwegian counterparts on the sidelines of an international conference in Seoul but no meetings are planned with US President Barack Obama or Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, official sources said on Saturday. Manmohan Singh will interact with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in a pull aside meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit and, soon thereafter, meet his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg. Both meetings will last 15 minutes.
"There are ongoing issues. They want to talk, we want to talk," the sources said. "We need to talk to come to a solution."
India-Italy ties have been strained ever since two Italian marines on board a cargo vessel shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast last month, mistaking them to be pirates.
The marines are currently in jail in Kerala, with the Indian government saying they would be tried under Indian laws. Italy says the marines should be tried under international laws as the incident occurred in international waters.
The issue of two Indian children who have been taken into foster care in Norway has turned particularly messy with their father making known his intention to divorce his wife on grounds of harassment and their uncle backtracking from taking custody of them.
The Seoul summit will be one of the rare occasions when Manmohan Singh will not be meeting Obama on the sidelines of an event that both leaders are attending.
(The Asian Age)