"It was basically a courtesy call to congratulate the External Affairs Minister on the party's victory. The issue of the two Italian marines also came up," said informed sources.

Sushma Swaraj is reported to have told her Italian counterpart that the case is sub-judice.

The two marines - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - are in New Delhi facing trial for the shooting of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast mistaking them to be pirates.

The marines were onboard the ship Enrica Lexie.

According to reports, the Italian government has said it hopes that India's new government of Narendra Modi will be open to negotiations on the issue, but failing that it will take the case to international arbitration.

On Monday, Latorre and Girone sent a Republic Day video message back to Italy from New Delhi. Latorre said that all they can do is "suffer with dignity" as they wait for a resolution to the case against them involving their actions while on an anti-piracy patrol.

Last month, the Italian government announced it was opening a "new phase" in the saga, replacing its special envoy in the case and sending its ambassador back to New Delhi to help steer the case towards arbitration by an international organization such as UN.

Nicola Latorre, who chairs the Senate defence committee, urged further talks with India's new government and new Parliament.


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