The controversy surrounding a China-backed multi-billion dollar plan to develop Lumbini, Buddha's birthplace in Nepal, took a new turn Tuesday with a senior Congress leader stating India should also be involved in any project associated with the site.
Dr. Karan Singh, who's on a Nepal visit, said on Tuesday that after Nepal, its southern neighbour, should have more stake in anything related with developing the place very close to the India border.
"Buddha was born in India, but he attained enlightenment, delivered his first sermon and died in India. After Nepal, it should be India who's closely involved in developing Lumbini," the President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations told journalists here.
When informed about a Hong Kong-based NGO's proposal to invest US $3 billion in Lumbini, Singh said that India should be more aware and active and take more interest on what's happening in that area.
"I will discuss this issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after getting back to India. Both countries can jointly develop a Buddhist circuit involving all important places in Buddha's life," he said.
Since Lumbini is very close to the Indo-Nepal border, strategic experts in India have warned that long-term Chinese presence in the area in the garb of developing the site should be of concern to New Delhi.