The Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs has called for an increase in diplomatic staffing for India’s expanded international stakes.
The Committee has noted that India’s Diplomatic Service is the most short-staffed in comparison to many other countries whose economy and stature is much leaner, according to a Parliamentary Report by the External Affairs Committee.
The Committee on External Affairs headed by P.P. Chaudhary presented their Twentieth Report on the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of External Affairs for the year 2023-24, on Tuesday.
The total strength of 4888 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 & Treaties Cadre, among others.
The cadre strength of Indian Foreign Service Officers is only 1011 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.
The 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 Foreign Policy, it is imperative that the cadre strength of the Ministry be 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. With the felt need of having Missions in all the UN member countries, there is an increased requirement of manpower in the diplomatic cadre, according to the committee report.
The Committee has therefore desired 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.
The Committee further desired 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. (ANI)