New Delhi: India needs to maintain a harmonious relationship with Pakistan, said senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday. “The situation has worsened in the last five years,” he said.

“We have to make Pakistan change its behaviour by changing our behaviour towards Islamabad to get peace. There have been talks of muscular policy and strong government in the past five years, but there were more infiltrations in 2018 than in the last 15 years,” he said. Former Finance Minister Chidambaram, who was speaking at an event – ‘Beyond Politics: Debating a New Security Manifesto’ – organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi, said that war is not an option for India, especially considering its position as a developing country in the world.

“War is not an option. We build strong armies not to win wars but to avoid them. We are in a neighbourhood where every country is a developing one. We, therefore, cannot be doing things which are beyond our economic capacity,” he said. The senior Congress leader also stressed that the issues of national security have consequences for India, but safeguarding human rights are of paramount importance. “It makes sense to resolve the easier issues of national security first, and then go for the difficult ones,” he said.

Chidambaram also criticised the previous governments for keeping some institutions out of the purview of the Parliament. “Everything and everyone is accountable to the Parliament in India. Keeping institutions out of the ambit of Parliament is showing distrust in democracy,” he said. “Over the years, several governments have done that and this should not be acceptable. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), for example, should be made answerable directly to the Parliament,” he said.