President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday advised Indian Foreign Service (IFS) trainee officers to read extensively not only about India but also the country to which they were accredited to during the course of their service.
The president gave the advice after a group of 64 trainee officers of the 2014 and 2015 batches of the IFS called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
"The foreign service is a unique opportunity to project our country's civilisational and cultural ethos along with its developmental aspirations to the rest of the world. A foreign service officer is the spokesperson, interpreter and narrator of the country's story to other countries, " the president said on the occasion.
He pointed out to the trainee officers that they will represent the world's largest functional democracy as well as a very old civilisation which had guided humanity over the centuries.
The president said the need for diplomacy was always felt. "(Indian philosopher - economist) Kautilya advised the king that he must be careful in appointing his envoy who should not be greedy or foolish or tell lies and should be knowledgeable. "
Mukherjee said that Indian foreign policy's foundation was laid by the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and was based on our core civilisational values.
Reminiscing about his own experiences, he said that while serving as India's external affairs minister, he got many opportunities to interact with IFS officers.
The trainee officers met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.