Here’s why India wants Canada to reduce number of diplomats amid ongoing row, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi explains
The approval came considering that there is more requirement of specialised manpower as the government plans to open nine more Indian missions in the next few years and also to meet the growing need at current missions, sources said. The major cadre restructure comes 19 years after the last restructuring of the cadre.
The exercise is reminiscent of a similar restructuring of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) cadre post-liberalisation in the 1990s and the resultant expansion of the Indian economy.
Sources said the restructuring, which comes in the immediate wake of the successful conduct of G-20 summit, will result in increase in the strength of IFS officers at the entry level and also creation of more posts. “The demand was felt long back and the Cadre Review Committee had recommended the review of the cadre almost a year back. The last review and restructuring of the IFS was in 2004,” said an official.
TOI has learnt that the Cabinet took into consideration several factors while giving the go-ahead, including the need of more hands to steer the country’s diplomacy in view of the acceptance of India-led initiative such as Global Biofuel Alliance, International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and International Yoga Day, among others.
Sources said the external affairs ministry, in its proposal, had mentioned how the average number of visits of senior government functionaries to countries that have Indian missions has increased from around 9-10 a year in 2014 to nearly 35-40 in 2023. “So, the Indian missions need more specialised hands there and also at the headquarters in New Delhi,” an official said.
Early this year, the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs had recommended to the government to ramp up the manpower of India’s diplomatic service in line with the country’s desire to play a key role on the global stage.
The panel had taken note of how the IFS is “most short-staffed” as compared to many other countries. It has mentioned in its report that the 1,011 IFS officers accounted for only 22.5% of the foreign ministry’s total strength of 4,888.