India’s foreign office to get youth boost


New Delhi : In a pioneering initiative, India’s external affairs ministry is set to open its doors to young scholars for an internship programme that will enable it to tide over manpower crunch in the short run and help augment much-needed research capacity in the formulation of foreign policy.

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“The internship programme will provide an opportunity for the officers of the ministry to interact with young thinking minds with brilliant academic record from reputed institutions,” the external affairs ministry said here Wednesday while advertising the programme.

It promises to be a win-win arrangement. “Ideas from budding scholars will prove to be of importance to the practitioners of diplomacy in the ministry,” the ministry said.

“At the same time, it will provide the interns with an excellent opportunity to familiarise themselves with the process of the foreign policy formulation in government of India,” the ministry said.

The programme, valid for a maximum period of six months, will be open to all Indian citizens with at least a degree in humanities. The interns will be attached to a territorial division of the ministry and will be required to present a report or paper at the end of their internship to the Head of Division.

Interns will be carefully scrutinized by a selection committee and will be accepted after a security clearance.

With India’s global footprints expanding and New Delhi increasingly being seen as an emerging global power, the workload on the Indian diplomatic corps has grown manifold.

However, the ministry continues to reel under a serious manpower crunch as there is limited quota for fresh recruitment every year. The young interns will provide the much-needed logistics and research support with niche areas like climate change and energy security becoming increasingly important in global negotiations.

India has one of the smallest foreign office with less than 700 diplomats posted in over 120 missions across the globe and at the headquarters in New Delhi. Two years ago, the cabinet had approved the creation of 30 new posts each year over the next decade.