The total training period for Probationers in India – LBSNAA, Mussoorie, FSI New Delhi: Desk and field attachments should not exceed a total of 15 months. In principle, the time distribution would be: (i) LBSNAA, Mussoorie (3 months); (ii) FSI – First Phase ( 5 months); (iii) On the job training with the desks of MEA (2 months): (iv) Field attachments, namely, District, Army, Bharat Darshan, Mission Attachment, etc. (3 months); (v) FSI – Second Phase (1 month) followed by (vi) Pre-departure attachment with the concerned Territorial Division, including brief attachment with other relevant line Ministries (1 month).
The purpose of the training programme for probationers should be to expose them to the basics of all the aspects of India’s foreign policy; relevant domestic issues; management/housekeeping tools; diplomatic skills, diaspora and consular issues and other aspects including conversation, writing, negotiations and public speaking skills. The FSI’s modules for IFS (Probationers) appear adequate (Annexure ‘A’). However, these aspects must be covered in a structured manner to the extent possible, preferably by professional teachers so that Probationers are able to come to grips with all the aspects of a particular subject in a holistic manner. For this, if suitable study material is not already available, the FSI would bring out relevant reading material on theory and practice of international relations, international law, diplomatic practices, including global economy and defense & security related matters. The relevant teaching material may be got prepared by appropriate experts on the subject but with a clearly defined framework. The FSI may also consider preparing study material on fast changing contemporary subjects. In addition to the standard classroom teaching, in case there is a need for exposing the Probationers to a specialized field of policy, this should be achieved through guest lectures, in line with the on-going practice at FSI. The purpose of training probationers is not to create specialization per se at this stage but to impart sufficient knowledge to start a career in diplomacy. However, some basic specialisation by way of writing thesis on a particular subject could be explored. Greater emphasis should be attached to practical training through workshops and simulation based on relevant case studies. The IFS Probationers will be encouraged to pursue advanced level course in the Compulsory Foreign Language (CFL) allocated to them depending upon their interest and performance in the prescribed language training.
The FSI would re-work their training modules and methodology for meeting the above requirements/goals. Measures would also be taken for making the training programme more interesting by including interactive and practical sessions. The speakers should also be carefully selected and preference given to those who not only have right experience and expertise but also possess the art of engagement. There may be a need for revising the honorarium paid to the guest faculty for attracting suitable experts.