Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, has called for an increase in the size of the country’s diplomatic corps, PTI reported on Friday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the panel’s meeting earlier this week, Tharoor suggested that there was a need for a separate exam for the Indian Foreign Service.

Citing the huge number of people serving in the diplomatic services of Brazil, China and US, Tharoor said: “I am not saying we can be like the US or even like China. But 800 is far too modest a number and it needs to be increased.”

Arguing for for a separate exam for the diplomatic service, Tharoor said the days are long gone when one had to be in the first ten ranks of the civil services examination to opt for IFS. Nowadays, those opting for it “never wanted to be in the service,” PTI quoted the Congress leader as saying. “The kind of qualities that are needed in a diplomat are very different from others. So there is need for separate exam for it,” he added.