A Parliamentary Panel on External Affairs noted that Bharat’s diplomatic service is perhaps the most short-staffed in comparison to many other countries whose economy and stature is much leaner than that of the country.
“The total strength of 4,888 is distributed across different cadres of the Ministry such as the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), IFS General Cadre, Branch B, Stenographers Cadre, Interpreters Cadre, Legal and Treaties Cadre, among others. The cadre strength of Indian Foreign Service Officers is only 1,011 which is just 22.5 per cent of the total strength. Out of IFS ‘A’ cadre, 667 are posted at our Missions abroad and 334 are manning the headquarters in Delhi which at present has 57 divisions,” said the Committee on External Affairs in its Demand for Grants (2023-24) report.
“Committee feel that we have far too less number of IFS ‘A’ Officers than actually required to represent India’s interests at the Headquarters and at our Missions abroad, including various multilateral agencies. The Committee are of the view that with the profound changes taking place in the foreign policy from Indian perspective it is imperative that the cadre strength of the Ministry commensurate with India’s expanding international stakes. To work towards global leadership as envisaged and for executing foreign policy strategy effectively across countries, our missions must be staffed with highly skilled/trained diplomats,” said the report.
The panel in its report observed that with the felt need of having Missions in all the UN member countries, there is an increased requirement of manpower in the diplomatic cadre. “The Committee, therefore, desire that the Ministry should get their cadre review done at the earliest to build capabilities for shouldering the expanded mandate while enriching the capacity of its existing personnel,” said the panel report.
The Committee said that it may be apprised of the efforts taken in this regard, and stressed that this review should primarily be based on a comparative analysis of the strength of the diplomatic corps of our country with major developing countries, countries in the neighbourhood and China, the report added.
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