Italy has warned that India's relations with the European Union would be seriously damaged if New Delhi decides to use strict anti-piracy laws to try two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen during a security operation in 2012.
The sharply worded warning from Prime Minister Enrico Letta came as authorities in India announced the Supreme Court would hold a hearing next week on whether to charge marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone under strict anti-piracy legislation.
"Italy is not a terrorist country," a statement from Mr Letta's office said, adding that any decision to try the two under anti-piracy legislation would be "absolutely unacceptable".
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It added: "It would bring about negative consequences in relations with Italy and the European Union, with equally negative repercussions on the global fight against piracy."
The two marines, part of a military security team protecting the tanker Enrica Lexie from pirates, were accused of shooting the two fishermen after mistaking them for pirates off the southern Indian state of Kerala in February 2012.