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.
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
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.
As a career diplomat, the Foreign Service Officer is required to project India’s 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:
1. Representing India in its Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, and Permanent Missions to multilateral organisations like UN;
2. Protecting India’s national interests in the country of his/her posting;
3. Promoting friendly relations with the receiving state as also its people, including NRI / PIOs;
4. Reporting accurately on developments in the country of posting which are likely to influence the formulation of India’s policies;
5.Negotiating agreements on various issues with the authorities of the receiving state; and
6.Extending consular facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad.
7.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. 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.