Since 2007, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been implementing a much-needed plan to double the size of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) from its woefully small number of about 620 when this decision was taken. No country with over 100 diplomatic missions around the world functions with less than 1,000 executive or diplomatic rank officials. Mexico, with 80 missions (and 70-odd consulates), has around 1,030 and it is seen as a small service. India has over 120 missions — and more are added each year — besides over 40 consulates.
This book by B S Das, despite its title, is relevant to this discussion, given that he made a singular success of his diplomatic career although many initially saw him as “interloper” from the police service. If such quality of talent is available at mid-career levels, the IFS need not fear. Alas, individuals of the competence plus the integrity and modesty of Das are all too few.
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