Pak, India must change to normalize ties: Chidambaram

Chidambaram calls PDP-BJP alliance biggest provocation to Kashmiris, asks Mehbooba to quit

Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Sunday said that if India wants to change Pakistan’s behaviour towards it, it should examine and change some of its conduct towards the neighbouring country.

The former Finance Minister, speaking at a discussion on national security at ‘Beyond politics: Debating a New Security Manifesto’, also said that if both the countries continue to demonize each other, the situation will never improve.

“We have to make Pakistan change its behaviour, which means we must also change our behaviour towards Pakistan,” he said.

The Congress leader also said that successive Prime Ministers have said that we can change our friends but not neighbours.

“If Pakistan demonize India and in turn India demonizes Pakistan, and this is the narrative in both the countries, we can never be friends. We can never put an end to border disputes and infiltration.”

In an apparent attack on the Modi government, he said the ground reality was different from what was being portrayed.

“We have been mesmerized by the phase ‘strong leader’, ‘strong government’ and ‘muscular policy’ but the real test is on the ground.

“We saw more infiltration in 2018 than in the last 15 years. More successful infiltrators, more civilian and military casualties in 2018 than before. So how do you claim these policies are a success?”

He said that, in a sense, “we are forbidden to ask these questions”, adding that without asking questions, one can never replace a bad policy with a good policy.