India court allows Italian marines home for Christmas

Updated 20 December 2012
0

India court allows Italian marines home for Christmas

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India: An Indian court on Thursday allowed two Italian marines awaiting trial for shooting two fishermen to go home for Christmas, despite prosecution fears that they will not return.
The marines shot dead the fishermen off India’s southwestern coast near the port city of Kochi in February while guarding an Italian oil tanker, but they deny murder on the grounds that they mistook their victims for pirates.
Judge P. Bhavadasan of the Kerala state high court relaxed the bail conditions and said the marines should “pledge a bank guarantee for 60 million rupees ($1.1 million) and should return to Kochi on or before January 10.”
Italy’s ambassador gave the court an undertaking that Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone would return to India to face trial in a case that has caused a diplomatic row between the two countries.
“Italy has no intention to meddle with the Indian judicial system,” lawyer P. Udhayabhanu, who represented the marines, said.
“The (Italian) ambassador has given an assurance... that the government would ensure the return of the accused.”
Rome has repeatedly called the case against the two men illegal and has appealed to India’s Supreme Court to quash it.
Italy insists the marines should be prosecuted in their home country because the shootings involved an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters, but India says they took place in waters under its jurisdiction.
Lawyer T. Asif Ali, who represented the Kerala state government, called for the marines’ bail request to be rejected, arguing that the two men may not return to India for their trial.
“If the government of Italy withholds them for further prosecution of the case, we have no legal remedy to bring them back,” he said.
Armed guards are increasingly deployed on cargo ships and tankers in the Indian Ocean to tackle the threat posed by Somali pirates, who often hold ships and crews hostage for months demanding multi-million-dollar ransoms.
Italian defense minister Giampaolo Di Paolo visited the two marines last Sunday and made a public appeal for the men to be allowed home to spend Christmas with their families.
The marines’ fate has attracted widespread interest in Italy, and also caused a stir at the Indian Grand Prix near Delhi in October.
Ferrari was forced to deny that its decision to put Italian naval flags on its cars for the race was a political gesture or a sign of support for the marines.
Since being granted bail in May, the two marines have been living in Kochi under court orders not to leave the town.


With 10-year visa, UAE could be new land of opportunity for Indians

Routine day at Dubai International Airport. AN photo
Updated 23 May 2018
0

With 10-year visa, UAE could be new land of opportunity for Indians

  • The ruler of Dubai changed rules to allow foreign investors to fully own companies
  • The Indian banking sector is far more developed in terms of product, technology and the caliber of professionals

NEW DELHI: Indians are likely to “flood” the UAE once its recently announced residency visa rules for students and highly qualified professionals come into place, experts said Tuesday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and the prime minister of the UAE, announced on Sunday a 10-year visa for investors, scientists, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as their families.
 As part of the changes, students will get five-year visas and “exceptional” graduates will be eligible for a 10-year visa.  Students currently have to apply to renew their visa each year.
The ruler of Dubai also changed rules to allow foreign investors to fully own companies. So far companies have been required to have a local partner who would hold the majority stake.
 The changes are expected to kick in during the third quarter of this year.
 “The UAE has always welcomed, and always will, innovators and business leaders,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted as he announced the new rules.
 The UAE, with its proximity to India, high salaries and low taxes, has always been a magnet for Indians. It is home to about 2.6 million Indians who make up roughly 30 percent of the country’s population, according to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. These numbers are expected to shoot up once the new rules apply.
 “Indians are always looking at new work opportunities anywhere in the world,” said Aradhana Mahna, managing director of Manya Education, a study abroad solutions provider in Delhi.  While the US and the UK have historically been avenues for Indian students looking to study abroad, the number of students applying to those countries have undergone a “sharp decline” since the election of US President Donald Trump — who made protectionist comments during his campaign days and since taking office — and since the UK decided to split with the European Union, Mahna said.
 “Dubai is close to home and that has always made it a preferred destination for Indians. Especially now with the US going down, it will be flooded by Indians,” she added.
Mukesh Bhasin, partner at Career Connect, an executive search firm that focuses on banking, financial services and the insurance sector (BFSI), agreed that the new rules would go a long way in attracting Indian talent.
 “The Indian banking sector is far more developed in terms of product, technology and the caliber of professionals,” he said. “The encouraging visa regime will lead to a lot of interest from Indian BFSI professionals toward Middle East opportunities given the already-existing tax benefits and international-quality lifestyle.”
 Since the collapse in 2008 of Lehman Brothers, most developed markets, including neighboring Singapore and Hong Kong, have cut back on the number of people they are hiring from abroad for their domestic operations. This includes a slowdown in foreign transfers for Indian employees of multinational banks, said Bhasin.