Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Exam and a candidate who desires to become an Ambassador of India then he/she has to take this exam. The Indian Foreign Service [IFS] is a Central Service and the chief diplomatic service in the country. The Indian Foreign Service is all about country’s external affairs, comprising diplomacy, trade, and cultural relations.
How to become an Ambassador of India (IFS)?
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts Civil Services Exam and a candidate who desires to become an Ambassador of India then he/she has to take this exam. The Indian Foreign Service [IFS] is a Central Service and the chief diplomatic service in the country. The Indian Foreign Service is all about country’s external affairs, comprising diplomacy, trade, and cultural relations. An IFS Officer will be in authority for the administration and activities of Indian missions abroad, and for the forming and execution of the Government’s foreign policy. Indian Foreign Service (IFS) offers vast exposure to different culture, ethnic, social and political and social setting all over the world. An IFS Officer can be posted in 160 odd Indian Embassies and Missions abroad. They can also be allocated to institutions like United Nations, UNESCO, World Bank, SAARC, etc. In India, they could be allocated as Passport and Visa Officers at various locations.
UPSC Civil Services Exam
UPSC Civil service Examination is conducted in three stages and they are:
- Civil Services Preliminary Exam (MCQ type)
- Civil Services Mains Exam (Written and Descriptive type)
- Personality Test/Interview
The notification for the exam is released by UPSC every year in Feb or March and candidates can choose from the list of services available.
Eligibility for Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
The eligibility criteria for the IFS exam are the same as for other civil services like IAS Exam and others. After clearing the civil services exam according to the rank a candidate gets allotted to the Indian Foreign Service and has to undergo specific training for Indian Foreign Services (IFS). Click here to know more about eligibility for IFS which is same as IAS Exam. Know the UPSC Syllabus for IFS which is same as the other civil services exam. Once a candidate clears the UPSC Civil Service Exam based on their rankings for which the written exam (UPSC Mains Exam) and Interview marks are taken into account, the candidate is allocated to a specific service like Indian Foreign Service (IFS).
Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Training
- Indian Foreign Service (IFS) is unlike any other civil services such as Indian Administrative service (IAS) or the Indian Police Service (IPS). Two-third of the career of an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer is spent abroad and only one-third of their career is spent at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi.
- After selected to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) through the Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) of India, candidates will undergo training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie for a period of three months where he/she will be designated as Foreign Service Probationer/ Officer Trainee.
- Once the training for three months that includes various activities like trekking and horse riding in the Himalayas, foreign language etc., is over, a Foreign Service Probationer/Officer trainee moves for additional training to the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.
- After a Foreign Service Probationer/Officer is moved to Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi located on Baba Gangnath Marg near Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, she/he undergoes training for a year comprising various modules like Indian Foreign Service Pay, International Relations, Leave and Compensatory Allowances (IFS-PLCA) Rules and Foreign Trade. During this training one also gets to travel to the nearby South Asian Countries or the United Nations to comprehend the operation of an Indian mission. A Foreign Service Probationer/Officer also undergoes involving with the Army, Navy and the Air Force with the district and the state government and the corporate sector.
- After this one year of training, a Foreign Service Probationer is involved with a Division of the Ministry of External Affairs for a period of six months as on-the-job-training. After this completion, an IFS probationer is assigned a Compulsory Foreign Language (CFL) and allocated at an Indian mission as a Third Secretary (Language Trainee) where the officer in probationary period learns the allocated foreign language like Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Russian, or any other language as per the requirements of the Ministry.
- After the completion of assigned Compulsory Foreign Language, the School of Foreign Languages (SFL), Ministry of Defence, India conducts an ability test to the Third Secretary (Language Trainee). Once a Foreign Service Probationer successfully completes the ability test in the allocated foreign language, she/he is confirmed in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). Generally, it takes about 3 years to be confirmed in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) from the date a candidates joins the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) as a Foreign Service Probationer/Officer.
- Once a candidate is confirmed in the Indian Foreign Service as an IFS Officer, she/he is allocated as a Secondary Secretary in one of the divisions like Administration, Cultural, Commerce, Consular, Economic or Political of the Embassy or as a Consul at an Indian Consulate for 3 years.
- The difference between Embassy and Consulate: Embassy – An Embassy is placed in the capital city of a country. Consulate – A Consulate is placed in some other main city of that country.
A consulate functions under the administration of an Embassy. The rank in the Indian Foreign Service while abroad at an Indian Mission/Post:
- Third Secretary (Language Trainee)
- Second Secretary
- First Secretary
- Counsellor (After 13 years of service)
- Minister (After 17 years of service)
The rank in the Indian Foreign Service while in India at MEA Headquarters
- Under Secretary
- Deputy Secretary (9 years of Service)
- Director (13 years of Service)
- Joint Secretary (17 years of Service)
- Additional Secretary
For more information related to Indian Foreign Service download the Byju’s app and check out the brief history of the Indian Foreign Service.