Decision that follows Narendra Modi’s visit to Rome for G20 meet signals relaunch of partnership between India and Italy.
In a major turnaround, the Government has decided to lift its ban on the Italian defence company involved in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi, sources confirmed here. The lifting of the ban would lead to a “relaunch” of ties between the two countries, said the Italian envoy. Over the past few years, bilateral relations have been held up over the helicopter case as well as the case of the Italian marines accused of killing Kerala fishermen, and Mr. Modi’s first visit to Rome has seen the formal burial of both issues.
The ban imposed on Italian defence firm Leonardo SpA has been lifted with certain conditions, a defence official confirmed to The Hindu. When asked, Italian Ambassador Vincenzo De Luca said that the matter had been discussed during the Prime Minister’s visit, where he was accompanied by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. According to one Government source, the ban had impacted the Navy in particular, as it is in need of an alternative supplier for “heavy weight torpedoes”.
“We have still not received confirmation of the decision [to lift the ban] by the Indian Government,” Mr. Luca said in response to a question from The Hindu.
“However it is a signal of the relaunch of…