MEA 'undergoing a change', says Salman Khurshid

Bangalore, July 30 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here today that the ministry is presently undergoing changes so as to accommodate people from industry, in order to contribute on issues relating to economic diplomacy.

"The External Affairs ministry is undergoing a change because of the requirements that Indian diplomats may have to fulfill" Khurshid said at a Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) event here.

Khurshid added, "We are looking at innovative methods by which people will come on deputation, hopefully one day we will have more people coming from industry - join us for few years, spend couple of postings abroad and return back to their career."

Khurshid said that the expectations and demand from the Indian diplomatic service had changed over a period of time, much like it had in the rest of the world.

Khurshid admitted that the Indian diplomatic service is of a relatively small size, saying "We have to grow, we have a plan for doubling the size over the next ten years."

"Every year the intake is increasing" Khurshid added on a positive note.

As of now, the ministry has approximately 700 Indian Foreign Service (IFS) cadre officials, and intends to build its strength to 1200 by 2018.

Commenting on the public diplomacy initiative by the ministry, Khurshid said that it is essentially a mechanism of outreach to add to capital diplomatic instruments and diplomatic exercise that the ministry takes. "It is to show what we are doing and make it more effective and add a different dimension as greater public participation takes place," Khurshid says.

Believing that modern technology will solve the issues concerning passports, Khurshid said, "personal interviews cause problem, it should be necessary in the cases only where it is required. We will find some ways for this."

"We are waiting for a survey on delivery of passports, hopefully before the end of the year there may be an announcement on how passports will reach every district and also the timeline by which it should be made available." (ANI)

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