Ministry of External Affairs (India)

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Ministry of External Affairs
Emblem of India.svg
Delhi India Government.jpg
South Block building, housing the Cabinet Secretariat
Agency overview
Formed 2 September 1946
Jurisdiction Republic of India
Headquarters Cabinet Secretariat
Raisina Hill, New Delhi
Employees 9,294 (2016 est.)[1]
Annual budget 14,798.55 crore (US$2.3 billion) (2017-18 est.)[2]
Minister responsible
Deputy Ministers responsible
Agency executives

The Ministry of External Affairs of India (abbreviated as MEA), also known as the Foreign Ministry, is the government agency responsible for the conduct of foreign relations of India. The Ministry comes under Government of India and is responsible for the country's representation in the United Nations. It also advises other Ministries and State Governments when the latter have dealings with foreign governments or institutions.

Brief History[edit]

The Ministry was initially the Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, a holdover from the British Raj. It was renamed the Ministry of External Affairs in 1948.[3] Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru held the portfolio as an additional charge till his death in 1964 and it was only then that a separate Minister with Cabinet rank was appointed. The ministry is responsible for the administration of Naga Hills, Tuensang Area, Indian Emigration Act of 1923, the Reciprocity Act of 1943, the Port Haj Committee Act of 1932, the Indian Merchant Shipping Act in so far as it relates to pilgrim ships, the Indian Pilgrim Shipping Rules of 1933, the Protection of Pilgrims Act of 1887 (Bombay) and the Protection of the Mohammedan Pilgrims Act of 1896 (Bengal) are also the special responsibility of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The following cadre controlling authority of the Civil Services (Indian Foreign Service) is under the administration and supervision of the External Affairs Ministry.

Bureaucratic structure[edit]


The Secretary General was the senior most official in the ministry till the post was abolished in 1964.[4] The delineation of responsibilities up to that time was as follows:

  • The Secretary General was the principal official adviser to the Prime Minister on matters relating to foreign policy and was responsible for overall supervision of the Ministry.
  • The Foreign Secretary dealt with the American, Western and Eastern Divisions and the West Asian and North African countries of the Southern Division. In addition, s/he was in charge of the Divisions dealing with Protocol, External Publicity, and the Historical Records. His/Her main task was to co-ordinate among the various Divisions in the Ministry.
  • The Commonwealth Secretary dealt with all the Commonwealth countries with the exception of Canada which was the responsibility of the Americas Division. S/he was also in charge of the South Asian countries of the Southern Division, and the African Division.
  • The Special Secretary was in charge of administration of the Ministry, and posts and missions abroad.[5]

Current structure[edit]

The Foreign Secretary is the senior most civil servant who is the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs,[6] and is supported by other secretary level officers.

  • Foreign Secretary — Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
  • Secretary (West) — Ruchi Ghanashyam[7][8]
  • Secretary (East) — Preeti Saran
  • Secretary (CPV & OIA) — Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay
  • Additional Secretary (XP) & Spokesperson; Gopal Baglay[9]

Development Partnership Administration (DPA)[edit]

Development Partnership Administration is an agency under the Ministry of External Affairs. As India increased its strategic footprint, DPA was formed in 2013 for effective execution of projects with professionals from diverse backgrounds. India has an elaborate project portfolio in its neighbourhood, including Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, as well as Africa and Latin America.

It is headed by Sujata Mehta, one of India’s foremost diplomats and former Indian representative to UN Conference on Disarmament, Geneva. Mehta is Special Secretary in the MEA.[10][11]

MEAIndia app[edit]

The Ministry of External Affairs was the first government department to have a mobile app for smartphones with the launch of MEAIndia on 29 July 2013. by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai. The app will help users apply for a passport, get visa information, and learn the location of Indian consulates worldwide.[12]

MEA Diplomat-Authors[edit]

Diplomats from other countries such as Gabriela Mistral, Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, St John Perse, Ivo Andric, George Seferis have won distinctions such as the Nobel Prize in Literature. Prominent diplomats-turned-authors who started their careers with the Indian Foreign Service and Ministry of External Affairs include Vikas Swarup and Navtej Sarna.


The office of the Ministry is located in the South Block building which also contains the Prime Minister's office and defence office. Other offices are located in Jawahar Lal Nehru Bhavan, Shastri Bhavan, Patiala House, and ISIL Building.[13]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]