The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has decided to focus on improving its talent base by recruiting people from the private sector and academia to keep pace with changing manpower requirements.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar and other top MEA officials told the standing committee on external affairs on Thursday that the ministry would advertise for positions in its public policy division to draw talent from the academic world and the private sector.
“Though there is lateral recruitment from the army and other such organisations into the MEA, this is for the first time it plans to advertise seeking talent from outside government,” said Shashi Tharoor, committee chairman and former minister of state. “Good 2 let new thinking into MEA,” he later tweeted.
The public policy division’s mandate has been expanded of late to include counter-terrorism and global cyber issues and act as a think tank plus back-room department for major foreign policy initiatives and visits. Ministry sources say the new hires could be assigned to other divisions, too.
India has 182 missions (high commissions and embassies) and posts (consulates and assistant high commissions) across the world but only 917 Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officers. The MEA has total staff strength of 4,024, which includes interpreters and officials working in divisions such as legal and treaties.
China has over 4,000 career diplomats, Japan 5,000 and Brazil 1,300. The US has 11,000 foreign service officials.