A Glimpse of What it Takes to Become an IFS Officer- Legends of LBSNAA
If you ask any Civil Services aspirant their greatest desire? They would answer to get trained at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA).
It is the penultimate destination of every Civil Service aspirant!
The officers who are or were at the top positions, such as the Secretaries or Joint Secretaries in various Central and State Governments ministries, were once beginners.
They gradually paved their way all the way to the top with a well-deserved halt at LBSNAA. One such legendary officer is Mr. Vikas Swarup.
In this article, we will talk about the former member of the Indian Foreign Service and a novelist, Mr. Vikas Swarup, his advice to all the budding officers.
An Eminent Diplomat
Vikas Swarup is an ex-Indian diplomat, and he joined the Indian Foreign Service back in 1986. In his diplomatic career that took him all across the world and spans over thirty-five years, Vikas Swarup has served the nation in different capacities in India’s capital, New Delhi, and India’s abroad missions such as Addis Ababa, Washington DC, Pretoria, and London.
He has been posted to various countries across the globe such as Turkey from 1987-1990, the United States from 1993-1997, Ethiopia from 1997-2000, the United Kingdom from 2000-2003, and South Africa from 2006-2009.
Watch highlights of Legends of LBSNAA Episode 1 with Vika Swarup:
Diplomacy, according to Vikas Swarup, is ultimately about advancing a country’s national interest, creating an external environment that is favourable for its internal progress. It is also about promoting international cooperation to tackle complex global issues and threats such as Terrorism, Cyber Crime, and Drug Trafficking.
Mr. Swarup served as India’s High Commissioner to Canada from 2017-2019. He has also worked in the capacity of the Consul General in Osaka-Kobe, Japan. Besides that, he was also the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. His contribution in the same upscaled the Ministry’s social media profile and engagement significantly.
Vikas Swarup was born in a family of lawyers. After completing his schooling at Boy’s High School & College, Allahabad, he graduated from Allahabad University with Modern History, Psychology, and Philosophy.
He also carved a niche in public speaking and emerged as a champion debater, winning various National level competitions.
Though he came from a lawyer’s family, he did not want to become a lawyer. It was after his unsuccessful attempts and a trial run on Science and Medical subjects, that he decided to become a Civil Servant.
He appeared for the Civil Services examination with Psychology and Philosophy for his Mains examination. Interestingly, all the International writers he had read during his school and college time created a longing for him to visit to all the places that they had written about.
This was the prime reason why he was so keen in joining Indian Foreign Services. He was among the only 12 candidates who cleared the Indian Foreign Services examination.
Besides being an avid reader, Vikas Swarup has a deep passion for writing fiction. During his last two month’s posting in London, he wrote his debut novel Q & A and it went on to become the multiple oscar-winning films, Slumdog Millionaire.
After the grand success of Q&A, he has written two other books namely Six Suspects and The Accidental Apprentice which became the best national and international sellers too.
Advice on Being a Good Diplomat
Needless to say, Diplomacy has become more important than ever before because we live in an interconnected and interdependent world that is in constant flux.
Hence, his advice for all the budding IFS officers is to have curiosity, tact, courage, and knowledge. Curiosity is being open-minded.
To be a good diplomat, aspirants should have the following qualities:
- Good research and Analytical skills to help evaluate complex problems
- Excellent Interpersonal skills to aid in building relationships and goodwill with stakeholders.
- Exceptional communication skills to communicate effectively across channels and mediums from writing to verbal communication.
- In-depth knowledge about your country.
According to him, a good diplomat must possess the essential four Cs, Credibility, Clarity, Comprehensiveness, and Circumspection.
Becoming a Civil Services officer is no cakewalk. It requires perseverance, dedication, patience, and most importantly, the backing of an authentic and reliable training partner.
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