Tharoor for overhaul of Foreign Service recruitment system

PTI Washington | Updated on March 12, 2018

Diplomat-turned politician Shashi Tharoor

India needs to reorient its current recruitment system to attract the best talent towards its Foreign Service, diplomat-turned politician Shashi Tharoor has said.

“We hire them from a one-size-fits-all Union Public Service Commission examination, which is the same examination from which we hire our cops, district magistrates, our Collector and our Customs officials,” Tharoor said adding that India no longer gets the best of its Foreign Service officials through these exams.

“We need not bureaucrats, but diplomats. We need young people who are curious about the world, who have an aptitude for languages, who are able to frankly talk to foreigners.

“We are not necessarily picking people like that. We really need to reorient our recruitment to be able to do that,” Tharoor, 56, said and argued for filling the gap in the Foreign Service today by bringing in people and experts at the mid-level.

Tharoor was speaking at an event held in Washington by the Indian National Overseas Congress to release his recently published book Pax Indica: India and the world of the 21st century.

The Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram said the recent decision to expand the annual intake was far from addressing the problem.

“We should fill these gaps right now,” he said and argued that if necessary we could get the people from the private sector, universities, think-tanks wherein people can come in mid-career.

His approach has, however, not been received well in the Foreign Service.

Calling for a “robust foreign policy”, Tharoor said it is “laughable” that India has a small number of foreign service officials compared to countries such as Singapore and New Zealand.

Published on October 08, 2012

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