Italy said the two marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen will return to India by Friday, in a surprising turnaround amid the deepening diplomatic rift between Rome and Delhi.

The Italian government said on Thursday it would return Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone after receiving “ample assurances” from Indian authorities “on the treatment that the marines will receive and the defence of their fundamental rights.”

Rome had announced on March 11 that the marines would not return to India after being granted leave to take part in the elections, provoking anger from Delhi.

Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini was barred from leaving the country until the two marines were sent back, a ruling that prompted the European Union to warn India against violating international laws on diplomatic immunity.

The two marines were accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates off the Indian port of Kochi last year.

Italy insists the marines should be prosecuted in their home country because the shootings involved an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters, reports AFP.