What is the actual working day of an Indian Foreign Service Officer like?

So we hear a lot about IFS. A lot of us have myths , misconceptions and sometimes no idea about what IFS officers do. Can someone share what is an actual working day like for an IFS Officer? What are the actual things they do?
jack_Sparrow , upadhyay_ankur61@gmail_com and 2 others like this


Officers of the Indian Foreign Service work in two capacities: 1. at Indian Missions and Posts 2. at the Ministry of External Affairs. When we work in a Mission (Embassy or High Commission), we look after the bilateral relationship between India and the host country in terms of Political, Economic and people-to-people relations. With certain countries we also work on cooperation in domains like defence and space. This means that IFS officers in the Missions are the point of contact for the host government to communicate with the India government. We are the representatives of the Govt of India in that country and the channel through which foreign governments interact with the Indian govt. When we are posted at MEA, we are the point of contact for foreign missions in Delhi. We communicate with foreign Missions on various matters of interest to India.

A typical working day in a Mission depends on the wing one is deployed in. In the political wing we attend conferences, make reports about the political developments in the host country and provide the political inputs from the ground to MEA, based on which policy with respect to a country is then decided in PMO and MEA. Political officers also communicate GoI's policies and decisions to the Foreign Ministry of the host government.

In the Economic and Commercial wing we engage with economic actors in the host country through various meetings, inform MEA in Delhi about the potential and status of economic cooperation with the host country, etc.

The Press, Information and Culture wing engages with the media of the host country, is responsible for organising various cultural events for the Mission, etc.

The most visible wing in an Embassy is perhaps the Consular wing since it has the most amount of public interaction. This wing helps Indians abroad with things like passports, OCI cards, and any other consular assistance. This wing issues visas to citizens of the host countries to visit India. Consulates (or Posts) do primarily the function of PIC and Consular Wings in other major cities of the host country.

At MEA in Delhi, a typical working day at the level of Under Secretary involves gathering reports and information from Missions about the developments on the ground in foreign countries and communicating them to Joint Secretaries for further policy planning. It also involves organising various incoming and outgoing visits.

As IFS officers become more senior, they play a more contributive and decisive role in policy making. 

That turned out to be a longer answer than I intended.

Thats because you have a lot to say :) Thank you so much for this !

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