Indian Foreign Service Day Date in the current year: October 9, 2024

Indian Foreign Service Day Indian diplomats celebrate their professional holiday, Indian Foreign Service Day, on October 9. It commemorates the founding anniversary of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), a central civil service responsible for India’s representation abroad.

The history of the Indian Foreign Service dates back to 1783, when the board of directors of the British East India Company created the Indian Foreign Department responsible for conducting business with foreign European powers. There was a clear distinction between the department’s foreign and political functions: relations with European countries were treated as foreign, while relations with native princely states and other Asian powers were treated as political.

As a result of the 1843 administrative reform carried out by the governor-general of India, the Secretariat of the Government was divided into four departments: Home, Foreign, Military, and Finance. All the external and internal diplomatic relations were entrusted to the secretary of the Foreign Department. The Government of India Act 1935 established the External Affairs Department directly subordinate to the governor-general.

In 1944, the Secretary of the Planning and Development Department suggested the establishment of a separate diplomatic service. The Indian Foreign Service was officially created two years later on October 9, 1946. Subordinate to the Ministry of External Affairs, it was entrusted with the diplomatic, consular and commercial representation of India overseas.

For the first two years, diplomats were appointed by the prime minister. Among them were former rulers of the princely states that had been integrated into India. Since 1948, IFS officers have been recruited by the Union Public Service Commission. They are required to pass the Civil Services Examination in order to join the service.

Upon passing the exam, recruits complete a four-month foundation course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, followed by a year-long training program at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service. About 25-30 recruits successfully complete their studies and join the Indian Foreign Service every year.

New officers spend a brief period working a desk job in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and studying a foreign language. In order to be posted to a diplomatic mission overseas, they must pass a language proficiency test.

The entry level position at Indian embassies and consulates is Third Secretary. As soon as a Foreign Service officer is confirmed in service, he or she is promoted to Second Secretary. Further ranks are First Secretary, Counselor, Minister, Deputy Chief of Mission/Deputy High Commissioner/Deputy Permanent Representative, and Ambassador/High Commissioner/Permanent Representative. The hierarchy in consulates consists of the following ranks: Vice Consul, Consul, and Consul General.

The government of India declared October 9 Indian Foreign Service Day in 2011. This professional holiday was created to commemorate the establishment of the IFS and to highlight its role in managing India’s foreign relations.

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