Senior Congress leader Karan Singh on Monday hit out at the government over the escalating Indo-Nepal border row, saying “prima-facie this appears to have been a serious diplomatic lapse".
The communist government of Nepal on Saturday managed to get a unanimous approval of the lower house of the country's Parliament to a new map depicting disputed areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as Nepalese territories, prompting India to say that such "artificial enlargement" of territorial claim is untenable.
"As one who has been closely associated both personally and politically with Nepal over several decades, I must express my sense of deep regret and dismay that Prime Minister Oli (of Nepal) has moved the country into what can only be described as an irreversible confrontational posture vis-à-vis India despite the profound social, cultural, religious, economic and political relations between our two countries that go back many centuries," Singh said in a statement.
"Whatever impact this move may or may not have on India, I fear that the consequences for Nepal will not be favourable for the people of that beautiful country," said Singh, a former Sadr-e-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh was sent to Nepal in 2006 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Special Envoy to urge all political stakeholders there for reconciliation at a time of political turmoil in that country.
India should never have allowed the situation to deteriorate like this, Singh said.
"Although the dispute in question is a long-standing one, it was, if I recall correctly, raised by Nepal in November last year. Surprisingly, we did not seem to take the matter seriously," the former Union minister said.
India should have immediately initiated Foreign Secretary-level talks and then, if necessary, raised them to the level of Foreign Minister or even the Prime Ministers, he said.
"Prima-facie, this appears to have been a serious diplomatic lapse, the consequences of which are before us," Singh said.