Former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor on Saturday advocated a separate exam for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), saying NRIs should be allowed to appear for this exam and roped in as diplomats.
Tharoor, an MP from Kerala, was speaking ahead of the launch of his new book, Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century, in Mumbai on Saturday. IFS officers are selected from among those who have cleared the civil services exams.
“I would love to have a separate examination, which will also be open to NRIs, as they will be natural diplomats for us. Imagine an eligible kid who has grown up in Spain, France or any Arab country. Such a person would be a terrific asset to us,” he said, adding that he had met many NRIs who had voiced their interest in joining India’s foreign services.
In Pax Indica, his 13th book, Tharoor has explored India’s relations with neighbouring countries, Europe, the Arab world and the USA and analysed its foreign policy.
Explaining the book’s title, loosely based on Latin terms such as Pax Romana and Pax Britannica which refer to periods of relative peace under Roman and British rule, Tharoor said, “I wanted a catchy title for general readers. I didn’t mean world domination like Pax Romana or Britannica. What I meant was a peace system, a system of peaceful relations among countries with India playing a significant role, which is also congruent with its own domestic interests.”
Tharoor has also put forward the theory of multi-alignment in the book. “That, instead of non-alignment, is perhaps more relevant to the present and the future,” he said.
Governor K Sankara-narayanan, who released the book at a city hotel, said it was a very good analysis of foreign policy and a must-read for students and researchers. The launch, attended by actor Shah Rukh Khan, among others, was followed by a panel discussion involving actors Anupam Kher and Rahul Bose and writers Anil Dharker and Chetan Bhagat.