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Indian Foreign Service

Introduction The Indian Foreign Service, also known as IFS is the foreign service of India, made up of a body of career diplomats. The Indian Foreign Service is considered as one of the Indian central services, but the officials enjoy equivalent status to the All India Services in terms of training. On September 13, 1783, the board of directors of the East India Company passed a resolution at Fort William, Calcutta (now Kolkata), to create a department that aimed to help "relieve the pressure" on the Warren Hastings administration in conducting its secret and political business. The Indian Foreign Department was established under the British Raj who conducted business with foreign European powers. From the very beginning of this department, a proper distinction was maintained between the foreign and political functions of the Foreign Department and also the relations with all "Asiatic powers", including the native princely states were treated as political units, while relations with European powers were treated as entirely foreign.

In 1843, the Governor-General of India, Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellen borough executed administrative reforms, thus organizing the Secretariat of the Government into four departments, namely the Foreign, Home, Finance, and Military. A secretary-level officer headed each of them. The Foreign Department Secretary was bestowed with the conduct of all communication belonging to the external and internal diplomatic dealings of the Indian government. The Government of India Act 1935 tried to define more clearly the functions of the foreign and political wings of the Foreign Department and it was soon realized that it was managerially essential to entirely separate the department. Consequently, the External Affairs Department was set up immediately under the direct supervision of the Governor-General.

The idea of establishing a separate diplomatic service to control the external activities of the government of India evolved from a note dated September 30, 1944, recorded by LieutenantGeneral T. J. Hutton, the Secretary of the Planning and Development Department. This note was later referred to the Department of External Affairs for comments, Olaf Caroe, the Foreign Secretary recorded his comments in an exhaustive note detailing the capacity, composition and functions of the proposed service. Caroe said that as India came forward as an autonomous
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nation, it was very important to build up a system of representation in abroad that would be in complete harmony with the objectives of the future Indian government.

In September 1946, on the eve of Indian independence, the Indian government established the Indian Foreign Service for India`s political, consular and commercial representation in the foreign lands. After Indian independence, the transition of the Foreign and Political Department into the new Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations was almost complete are ready to be executed thoroughly.

In 1948 the first examination of Indian Foreign Service was conducted and the group of Indian Foreign Service officers were recruited under the combined Civil Services Examination administered by the Union Public Service Commission combined the service. This exam is still conducted to select new IFS officers to this day. The Civil Services Examination is used particularly for recruitment procedure for many Indian administrative bodies. The Indian Foreign Service examination has three stages - a preliminary exam, a main exam, and an interview. The Indian Foreign Service examination is known for being extremely challenging. Entry into the IFS in modern times has become very difficult, due to the elaborate study course and intricate question pattern. However, most applicants appear for the examination of Indian Foreign Service and also other All India Services like IAS and IPS for acquiring the high prestige, salary, and benefits that come with such positions.

The entire selection process for an Indian Foreign Service official lasts for 15 to 20 months. Repeated attempts are allowed to the candidates up to four times. About 300 to 400 candidates are finally selected each year for Indian Foreign Service out of the nearly 400,000, candidates but only a rank in the top 50 guarantees an IAS or IFS selection and the acceptance rate is of 0.01 percent. For the past years, the recruitment into the Indian Foreign Service has seen an average of 8-15 persons every year. The present cadre strength of the service is at around 600 officers counting around 162 Indian missions and posts overseas and the various posts in the Ministry of External Affairs at home. The Times of India reported a deficiency of Indian diplomats. After been selected as the Indian Foreign Service official , the new entrants undergo in-depth training. The
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Indian Foreign Service officials undergo a probationary period and until they complete their basic training they are known as the probationers. Training begins at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussourie, where members of many influential Indian civil service organizations are trained.

After completing the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, the probationers of Indian Foreign Service join the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi for attaining more training as well as attachments with different government bodies and tours both in India and in foreign countries. The entire training programme is for a period of 36 months. At the conclusion of the training programme the Indian Foreign Service officer is assigned a compulsory foreign language (CFL). After a brief period of desk attachment in the Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian Foreign Service officer is posted to an Indian diplomatic mission abroad where the CFL is the native language. There the officer undergoes language training unless and until, he developes proficiency in his CFL and pass an examination before being permitted to continue in the service.

History The origin of the Indian Foreign Service can be traced back to the British rule when the Foreign Department was created to conduct business with the "Foreign European Powers. In fact it was on September 13, 1783, when the Board of Directors of the East India Company passed a resolution at Fort William, Calcutta (now Kolkata), to create a department, which could help "relieve the pressure on the Warren Hastings administration in conducting its "secret and political business. Subsequently known as the "Indian Foreign Department, it went ahead with the expansion of diplomatic representation, wherever necessary, to protect British interests. In 1843, Governor-General Ellenborough carried out administrative reforms under which the Secretariat of the Government was organized under four departments Foreign, Home, Finance and Military. Each was headed by a Secretary level officer. The foreign department Secretary was entrusted with the "conduct of all correspondence belonging to the external and internal diplomatic relations of the government.
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From the very beginning, a distinction was maintained between the "foreign and "political functions of the Foreign Department; relations with all "Asiatic powers (including native princely states of India during the British Raj) were treated as "political and with all European powers as "foreign. Although the Government of India Act, 1935 sought to delineate more clearly functions of the "Foreign and "Political wings of the Foreign Department, it was soon realized that it was administratively imperative to completely bifurcate the Foreign department. Consequently, the External Affairs Department was set up separately under the direct charge of the GovernorGeneral. The idea of establishing a separate diplomatic service to handle the external activities of the Government of India originated from a note dated September 30, 1944, recorded by Lt-Gen T. J. Hutton, Secretary, Planning and Development Department of the Government. When this note was referred to the Department of External Affairs for comments, Mr Olaf Caroe, the Foreign Secretary, recorded his comments in an exhaustive note detailing the scope, composition and functions of the proposed service. Mr Caroe pointed out that as India emerged to a position of autonomy and national consciousness, it was imperative to build up a system of representation abroad that would be in complete harmony with the objectives of the future government. In September 1946, on the eve of Indias independence, the Government of India decided to create a service called the Indian Foreign Service for Indias diplomatic, consular and commercial representation overseas. In 1947, there was a near seamless transformation of the Foreign and Political department of the British India government into what then became the new Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations and in 1948 the first batch recruited under the combined Civil service examination system of the Union Public Service Commission joined the service. This system of entry has remained the staple mode of intake into the IFS to this day.

Diplomacy as a Profession Diplomacy is a complex and often challenging practice of fostering relationships around the world in order to resolve issues and advance interests. Discover the PEOPLE who conduct diplomacy, the PLACES where the diplomat engages in diplomacy, and the ISSUES diplomacy helps resolve. Indian diplomats work all over the world - in India at headquarters and in foreign countries - to advance our foreign policy. The roles of diplomats are varied, but all of them work to protect and serve Indian citizens and Indian interests abroad. Professional diplomat as a man or woman in a pin-striped suit, sitting with other diplomats in an elegant meeting roomnegotiating peace, threatening war, or hammering out the terms of a treaty. This is part of what diplomats do, since diplomacy is about managing international relations. Many diplomats do all the things listed above, but they also do much more. Conducting foreign policy is a complex business. The peace, safety, and prosperity the citizens enjoy are a direct result of the hard work of many skilled professional diplomats and others. Government diplomats are paid professionals. However every person has opportunities to practice diplomacy in everyday life?

When businesspeople, teachers, scientists, athletes, and musicians share ideas and experiences during visits abroad they represent their country and thus act as citizen diplomats. All of these encounters produce subtle moments of diplomacya small exchange of impressions and information about people of other lands. Most of us will never be an ambassador. But if a person travel abroad, or meet a foreign citizen in India, a person represent a personr country, and this makes a person a citizen diplomat. How to become a diplomat Diplomats come from many different backgrounds, yet they all work to advance our interests abroad. To become a diplomat one has to take the Civil Service Exam. If a person make it into the Foreign Service, the next stop is the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). Officer trainees are then sent abroad to learn the Compulsory foreign language of their choosing.

To be successful, one needs to listen well, analyze, problem-solve, and learn how to apply these skills in foreign cultures. Depending on the responsibilities, one might need specialized knowledge. If the job is promoting international trade, for example, one will need to learn about a countrys economy, business practices, and banking system. One also needs to learn the etiquette and customs of your host country and be polite, tactful, and patient. The Foreign Service is a career like no other. It is much more than a job; it is a uniquely demanding and rewarding way of life.

The Ministry of External Affairs looks for a diverse group of people, with varied backgrounds and experiences, to achieve the foreign policy goals of our country. Foreign Service Officers with different personalities and a wide variety of skills are needed to handle the many kinds of jobs diplomats do. Most diplomats work far from home, where the culture, food, and language are different. Their number one job is to take care of Indian citizens overseas. But another part of their responsibility is to build good working relationshipseven if the leaders or citizens of the host country disagree with our policies. Diplomacy is required to move through these delicate situations!

1. Do a person like to write, speak publicly, work with journalists or engage through social media, or plan informational or cultural programs?

2. Do a person like to manage an operation and solve practical problems dealing with budget, personnel, transportation, or buildings?

3. Is a person curious about how other countries are governed, how we advance our foreign policy, and the processes of negotiations?

4. Is a person interested in business, money, and trade relations?

5. Is a person interested in the law, helping Indian citizens in trouble, and meeting foreign citizens who would like to come to India?

6. Do a person want to help people in other countries obtain clean water, develop sustainable agriculture, or better education or help our people learn from them?

7. Would a person enjoy helping to increase Indian business or agricultural exports?

Diplomacy is conducted around the world. Trained diplomats work mostly in the Embassies, which are located in the capital cities of foreign countries. They also work in consulates, which are located in big cities, and in countries hosting Missions to international organizations.

Career A Foreign Service Officer begins his career abroad as a Third Secretary and is promoted to Second Secretary as soon as he is confirmed in service. Subsequent promotions are to the levels of First Secretary, Counsellor, Minister and Ambassador/High Commissioner/Permanent Representative. Officers can also be posted to Indian Consulates abroad where the hierarchy (going upwards) is Vice-Consul, Consul and Consul General. The hierarchy at the Ministry of External Affairs includes 6 stages: Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Director, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and Secretary.

Civil Service Exam:

Exam Date : Prelim in 1st week of May & Mains in 2nd week of Oct

Eligibility Criteria :

1.Age limit

21 years must be completed on 1st August of the year, which a candidate is appearing. Maximum 30 for general category, 33 for OBCs and 35 for SCs/STs . Ex-servicemen will get 5 more years
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exemption from the prescribed age limit The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University, which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate.

2.Number of Attempts

Four attempts for open, seven for OBCs and no limit for SCs/STs. If a person appears in the Preliminary Examination or even one paper is counted as an attempt.

3.Restrictions on applying for the examination:

A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination.

Exam Pattern :

All India Combined Competitive Examination for the Civil Services conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) comprises of two successive stages:

- Preliminary Examination: It is of objective type, which is a qualifying examination.

- Main Examination: It consists of written examination and interview.

The Preliminary Examination is held in May/June and the Main Examination in October/November. One must begin preparations of the main exam along with preliminary exam. This is because there is little time for the Main exam if one waits for the results of the Preliminaries.
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The examination is a three stage process which consists of Civil Services Aptitude Test CSAT , Main Examination and the Interview

1. Civil Services Aptitude Test CSAT - IAS,IPS,IFS,IRS Exam - New Pattern

This is the first stage of Civil Services Examination. It is an Objective type examination consisting of Two Papers that is common to all candidates from 2011 having special emphasis on testing their aptitude for civil services as well as on ethical and moral dimension of decision making. The details are yet to be published and all candidates for CSAT are advised to concentrate more on General Studies of Preliminary examination with specail focus on Current Affairs/ Events,Science and Technology,Economy and sports of National and International importance that has a bearing on public life in India;

2. Civil Services Main Examination -IAS,IPS,IFS,IRS Descriptive Exam

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) selects, successful cadidates to Main Examination i.e. about 20 times of the total number of vacancies mentioned in the Notification. It is a descriptive examination. 3. Civil Services Interview- The Final Stage

This is the last stage of Indian Civil Service Examination. Interview has 200 marks and it will be counted for final list of candidates. Usually double the number of vacancies will be selected for the interview subjected to the reservation for various categories. It is advised that all candidates should prepare about the details given in the main application form.

Qualification required to join the IFS

A person should be an Indian and a graduate to sit for the Civil Services Exam. There also exists age limits for appearing in the exam depending on the category a person belong to. For general
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category one should be between 21-30 years as on 1st August of the year of Examination. Also there are limits on the number of attempts a person can take.

Become an Ambassador

To be an Ambassador of a country, a person basically need to get into the Civil Services of the country. Ambassadors are generally chosen from the IFS. The first posting, however, is as a Third Secretary. The next as a Second Secretary, then a First Secretary, and after that Counsellor and then, possibly, Ambassador. Also, between foreign postings, alternate postings are in India, in the MInistry of External Affairs. The most senior officer of the IFS is the Foreign Secretary.

Benefits of IFS. The Indian Foreign Service (IFS) is the foreign service of India. It is the body of career diplomats of India. It is part of the Central Services of the Government of India, under The Foreign Secretary, of India,who is the administrative head of the Indian Foreign Service. This is a highly rewarding career. Its Officers are the cream of the Officers. Prestige, Power, Perks, Authority - they have all the best. A Foreign Service Officer begins his career abroad, as a Third Secretary and is promoted to Second Secretary as soon as he is confirmed in service. Subsequent promotions are to the levels of First Secretary, Counselor, Minister and Ambassador / High Commissioner / Permanent Representative. Officers can also be posted to Indian Consulates abroad where the hierarchy (going upwards) is Vice-Consul, Consul and Consul General.

The hierarchy at the Ministry of External Affairs includes 6 stages: Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Director, Joint Secretary, Additional Secretary and Secretary.

Training On selection to the Indian Foreign Service through the combined Civil Services examination, the new entrants undergo a multi-faceted and comprehensive training programme intended to give them a thorough grounding in diplomatic knowledge, diplomatic qualities and diplomatic skills.
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The probationers commence their training, together with their colleagues from the other All India Services, at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie. Thereafter the probationers join the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi and undergo focused training in the various disciplines that a career diplomat needs to familiarise himself with. The Foreign Service Institute course involves lectures, attachments with various wings of the Government as well as familiarisation tours both within the country and abroad. The aim of this course is to inculcate in the diplomatic recruit a strong sense of history, knowledge of diplomacy and international relations and a grasp of general economic and political principles. At the conclusion of the training programme the officer is assigned his/her compulsory foreign language (CFL). After a brief period of desk attachment in the Ministry of External Affairs the officer is posted to an Indian Mission abroad in a country where his CFL is the native language and enrolled in a language course. The officer is expected to develop proficiency in his CFL and pass the requisite examination before he is confirmed in service.

Strength In recent years, the intake into the Indian Foreign Service has averaged between 8-15 persons annually. The present cadre strength of the service stands at approximately 600 officers manning around 162 Indian missions and posts abroad and the various posts in the Ministry at home.

Role & Functions about the Indian Foreign Service: The Indian Foreign Service is part of the Central Services of the Government of India. The Foreign Secretary, of India, is the administrative head of the Indian Foreign Service.In 1948 the first group of Indian Foreign Service officers recruited under the combined Civil Services Examination administered by the Union Public Service Commission joined the service. This exam is still used to select new IFS officers to this day.

The Civil Services Examination is used for recruitment for many Indian administrative bodies. It has three stages - a preliminary exam, a main exam, and an interview - and is known for being
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extremely challenging. Entry into the IFS is considered very difficult; most applicants rank it and the Indian Administrative Service as their top choices because of the high prestige, salary, and benefits that come with such positions.

The entire selection process lasts 15 to 20 months. Repeated attempts are allowed up to four times. About 600 to 800 candidates are finally selected each year out of the nearly 400,000 + but only a top rank guarantees an IAS or IFS selectionan acceptance rate of around 0.01 percent.

In recent years, the intake into the Indian Foreign Service has averaged between 30-35 persons annually. The present cadre strength of the service stands at approximately 700 officers manning around 162 Indian missions and posts abroad and the various posts in the Ministry of External Affairs at home. On acceptance to the Foreign Service, new entrants undergo in-depth training.

Role Of IFS. WHEN DIPLOMATS negotiate a treaty, attend a state dinner, or arrange a visa for a traveler, they all have the same missionto represent the interests and policies of our country. Beyond that, diplomats roles and responsibilities are immensely varied. An ambassador is the Presidents highest-ranking representative to a specific nation or international organization abroad. An effective ambassador has to be a strong leadera good manager, a resilient negotiator, and a respected representative. A key role of an ambassador is to coordinate the activities not only of the Foreign Service Officers and staff serving under him, but also representatives of other Indian agencies in the country.

Foreign Service Officers are professional, trained diplomats who represent Indian interests abroad under the direction of the ambassador. All Foreign Service Officers listen to and observe what is going on in the host country, analyze it, and report to the ambassador and New Delhi.

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The Main Functions Of IFS As a career diplomat, the Foreign Service Officer is required to project Indias interests, both at home and abroad on a wide variety of issues. These include bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, press and media liaison as well as a whole host of multilateral issues. The functions of an Indian diplomat may be summarized as: Representing India in its Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, and Permanent Missions to multilateral organisations like UN; Protecting Indias national interests in the country of his/her posting; Promoting friendly relations with the receiving state as also its people, including NRI / PIOs; Reporting accurately on developments in the country of posting which are likely to influence the formulation of Indias policies; Negotiating agreements on various issues with the authorities of the receiving state; and Extending consular facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad. At home, Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for all aspects of external relations. Territorial divisions deal with bilateral political and economic work while functional divisions look after policy planning, multilateral organizations, regional groupings, legal matters, disarmament, protocol, consular, Indian Diaspora, press and publicity, administration and other aspects.

The IFS was created in October 1946 as a specialised service for the conduct of Indias relations with foreign countries in all aspects political, economic, commercial, consular, external publicity and cultural affairs. The main functions of the IFS and its role in the conduct of foreign relations is enumerated below:

(i) Political IFS officers are required to constantly monitor and assess the emerging situation in
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the host country and countries of concurrent accreditation, duly taking into account the political, economic and the socio-cultural factors, and brief the Government of India with a view to promoting and protecting our national interests. This involves maintaining a continuous supply of information to the Ministry of External Affairs by means of accurate and insightful reports on current events and discemible trends. Officers maintain regular contact with the host Government at appropriate levels to project and seek support for Government of Indias views on various international issues of vital importance to our interests. The views of the host Government are solicited and suitable feed back conveyed to headquarters to facilitate effective policy formulation.

(ii) Economic & Commercial Economic and commercial work have an extremely important role to play in a Foreign Service officers line of duty. It is intricately linked to political work and one cannot be seen in isolation of the other. The main functions in the Economic and Commercial field include promotion of Indias economic and commercial interests including promotion of Indian exports to various countries, encouraging flow of investments into India, facilitating industrial and technical collaboration between Indian and foreign industrial, business and commercial organisations. Economic and commercial work requires constant monitoring of opportunities, making relevant information available, organising various trade promotion events, facilitating participation in trade fairs, assisting in resolution of trade disputes and dissemination of information on business and investment opportunities available in India. The concerned trade promotion and other divisions in Ministry of Commerce are closely associated with the functioning of the commercial wings of Indias Missions and Posts abroad.

(iii) Consular Consular work involves protection of the rights of Indian nationals, assistance in settling their disputes, arranging repatriation of destitute Indians and maintaining contacts with and providing consular access to, Indian nationals who have been imprisoned in foreign countries for violation of local laws, as well as provision of passport facilities. In addition, consular work also involves expeditious issue of visas to foreign nationals desirous of visiting India. Consular work involves close coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Regional Passport Offices located in various parts of the country.

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(iv) Publicity Publicity work involves projection of Indias views and concerns on national and international issues and influencing public opinion in the countries of accreditation with developments in India in all spheres, particularly those which have a bearing on Indias foreign policy and security. In addition to countering negative trends and media publicity, officers endeavour to enlarge the areas of positive perception about the country while attempting to build up greater awareness and understanding for its policies and values. Audio-visual, print material, material, and the Internet are used to reinforce the countrys positive image and to keep the media informed about issues that impinge on Indias national interests. Promotion of Indian culture as well as its understanding thereof abroad and strengthening of Indias cultural relations with host countries is an integral part of Publicity work and is an extremely important element of Indias foreign policy. Officers in close cooperation and consultation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) impart instructions on various aspects of Indian cultural heritage including dance, music and Indian languages to foreign nationals and people of Indian origin alike. Officers are also entrusted with the work of organising cultural programmes, seminars and workshops for people of Indian origin abroad as well as foreign nationals. Cultural cooperation with several countries is also arranged through Cultural Treaties which enables mutually agreed and structured forms of cultural exchange programmes, finalized well in advance. (v) Representation A Foreign Service Officer is expected at all times and in all his contacts with the government as well as its people, in the country where he serves, to conduct himself as a representative of his country, his people and his government. He projects the imager of India through his words and deeds.

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