CSE (Indian Foreign Services)



Consider this – A big convoy of diplomats led by the Prime Minister meet the president of another country to discuss relations and deals. Travelling around the world in business class for diplomacy, living in well furnished government bungalows, socializing with top civil servants and political leaders from around the world constitute a few privileges of being a Indian Foreign Service officer.

Indian Foreign Services also known as IFS has always been a crucial for the country. Representing the country both at national and international levels for a variety of issues, promoting trade and investment both at national and international levels, working on strengthening bilateral economic and political ties etc are the major works of a diplomat recruited as an IFS officer. Along with the works mentioned above, IFS officers also work on negotiating agreements on various issues, working in embassies, high commission etc and in some cases multilateral organization such as the United Nations, promoting friendly relations with high officials of different countries, working with the Ministry of External Affairs on various aspects of external relations etc. The list goes on!

With the exposure to different countries increasing each passing day and the global political environment, the relations are becoming increasingly strained, it is only diplomacy that can take things forward. Hence the role of an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer is central to all diplomatic relations.

Personality Traits

For aspirants who wish to make a mark for themselves as a IFS officers must necessarily possess all these traits.

  • Honesty
  • Extrovertedness
  • Dynamism
  • Dedication
  • Intellectual and moral integrity
  • Integrity and love for the country
  • Extremely good communication skills
  • Always abreast with national and international affairs
  • A strong constitution 
  • Good physical and mental health
  • Ability to work for long hours and away from country
  • intelligence 
  • Common sense 
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Desire to serve one's country 
  • Idealism 
  • Ability to weigh facts
  • Emotional stability 
  • Balance of judgment
  • Optimism 
  • Positive thinking
  • Ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds 
  • Mental alertness
  • Adaptability 
  • Ability to effectively use power and authority that comes handy with the job
  • Willingness to work in a stringent bureaucratic set up


For all those who are interested in taking up Indian Foreign Services have to first appear for the Civil Service Examination which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The civil service examination is conducted in various stages that are enlisted below. The stage one of the Civil Service examination is the preliminary exam which is also the qualification exam. The prelim is an objective type test that basically comprises two tests. Each test is a 200 marks test for two hours each. The first paper comprises questions on current events, Indian and world geography, Indian policy and government, economic and social development, environment ecology, bio-diversity, general science etc. Whereas the Test II covers questions related to comprehension, interpersonal & communication skills, logical & analytical reasoning, decision making & problem solving skills, Mathematical ability and English language. This is just a qualifying examination and the scores gained by students at this stage are not included in the final marking scheme.

The students who qualify the preliminary examination, become eligible to appear for the mains examination. The mains examination consists of a written exam and an interview. The written exam for the mains paper includes nine subjective type papers.

The list of the same is as follows:

Subject Marks
One Indian language paper 300
English 300
Essay 200
General Studies paper – I 300
General Studies paper – II 300
Optional Subject – I (a) 300
Optional Subject – I (b) 300
Optional Subject – II (a) 300
Optional Subject – II (b) 300

Students have to also appear for a round of personal interview that is conducted by board appointed by UPSC.

The seats for IFS are extremely less. Preference is given to candidates who have secured ranks in top 100. After clearing the entire civil service entrance procedure, the selected students in IFS go through a comprehensive training programme as probationers to help hone their skills in various aspects of diplomacy. After completing their training as probationers they then join Foreign Service Institute at New Delhi for a focused training to help candidates understand economic and political principles, diplomacy and international relations and lots more. After the completion of his/her training, candidates have to then undergo a compulsory foreign language. Only after they gain proficiency in the foreign language and pass necessary language exams, their recruitment is confirmed.

List of Institutes for undergrad and post-grad courses in Indian Foreign Service

Institute Website
Union Public Service Commission www.upsc.gov.in
Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie www.lbsnaa.gov.in
Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi www.meafsi.gov.in

Career Opportunities

After completing the requisite training, Indian Foreign Service Officer usually commence their career as a Third Secretary in a foreign country. As soon as their service is confirmed, IFS officers are then promoted to Second Secretary and then to First Secretary till the position of an Ambassador.

Apart from being placed as an Ambassador or a High Commissioner or a Permanent Representative, IFS officer can also get placed at various ranks in Indian Consulates.

Apart from embassies and consulates, IFS officers also get absorbed in the Ministry of External Affairs at various positions.


The remuneration for all the grades is as follows:

Grade Pay scales
Junior Time Scale 8000-275-13500
Senior Time Scale 10650-325-15850
Junior Administrative Grade 12000-375-16500
Selection grade IV 14300-400-18300


Senior Administrative Grade

26000 (fixed)
CSE (Indian Foreign Services)
CSE (Indian Foreign Services) - By : | Date Published : 19-04-2016 | Category : Career Options |
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