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Model Interviews

Mr Bhandari is a candidate for the Indian Foreign Service. When he is called in for the interview, he enters the interview hall gracefully and greets the chairman and members of the board. On being asked to take the seat, he pulls the chair with self-confidence and sits down thanking the chairman.

Chairman
We are very glad to note from your bio-data that besides having a good academic record, you are a widely travelled person. Will you let us know what struck you most when you first left India and which country you first visited?
Candidate
Thanks for the compliment, sir. My first visit was to UK with my parents. I did not at all feel strange as the landscape looked quite familiar to me. I had read about UK in various books and magazines. As I believe in only individual differences, I did not find any difference in the national characteristics of the British people.
Chairman
As we in India have a craze for imported goods, what, according to you, accounts for the growing interest abroad in things of Indian origin, specially the handicrafts?
Candidate
Sir, Indian culture has a magnetic attraction for people abroad. India has always been regarded as a great intellectual adventure. For centuries it has been attracting researchers and travellers. The interest continues to this day and is manifested in the growing demand for handicrafts, garments and other things of indigenous origin.
Chairman
As I can see from your bio-data, you have done your MA in English Literature. You may have read the allegation of some political parties that English is being imposed on Indian children thereby reducing regional languages to the status of secondary languages. What are your views on this?
Candidate
Sir, English is an international language. In a country like ours, which has such diversity in its regional languages, it would be appropriate to use English as a link language within the country. Not only is it essential for international communication, it is far more easily accepted as a common language by a majority of Indians as compared to any other Indian language, including our national language, Hindi, which is considered a language of the Hindi-speaking states in India. Regional languages can be used within the states and the common use of English will facilitate day-to-day functioning. English is also very essential for all scientific and technical education. You will agree, sir, that the students who go in for higher professional education in medicine, engineering or any other field, have to study everything in English. Therefore, English has to continue if we wish to have an international standing and compete in science and technology with other countries.
Chairman
So far we have talked about English as a language. Let us come to literature. Do you regard literature as a link between peoples of various countries?
Candidate
Sir, I beg to differ. I do not think that literature has linked or could link different peoples of diversified cultures in different countries.
Member 1
Do you mean to say that there are no national literary tastes?
Candidate
Sir, I am not in favour of any geographical division of Literature as such. All literature is universal and we cannot say that a particular literary taste pertains to any particular country. It is, in fact, linked with the period in which it was created, as we find similarity in literatures of various countries during a particular period. In other words, contemporary writers create more or less the same type of literature in their respective countries.
Member 2
What makes you opt for the Indian Foreign Service?
Candidate
Sir, I regard the Indian Foreign Service as being more prestigious and challenging in comparison to other services. You will find from my bio-data that I specially learnt French and German during college because I aspired to join the Foreign Service. I can serve my country very well by getting into this service and my knowledge of English and other foreign languages would help me to excel in my duties.
Chairman
Good, I get your point. Let us now discuss something of international interest. What do you understand by the Policy of Non-Alignment?
Candidate
Sir, I have to explain the background of non-alignment before I explain the meaning of this policy. Sir, the world was divided in two major sections or blocs, one led by USA and the other by the former USSR. There were quite a number of countries which belonged to neither bloc. Most of these countries attained independence after World War II. These countries did not want to align themselves with the newly emerged superpowers, that is, USA and USSR, and wanted to have a separate identity. One hundred and two nations came together to constitute the Non-Aligned Movement. They decided to adopt the doctrine of Panchshila based on five ancient Buddhist principles, namely, mutual recognition, non-aggression, non-interference, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence.
Member 1
Is India a member of the Non-Aligned Movement?
Candidate
Yes, sir. India is one of the most active members of the Non-Aligned Movement. In fact, India was a founder member of the movement under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Member 2
As you are aspiring for the Foreign Service, I am sure you must have read a lot about the United Nations or UNO as we call it. When was the concept of UNO given a concrete shape?
Candidate
Sir, the Charter of UNO was drafted for the first time in San Francisco on 26 June 1945. This was the time when Japan was about t surrender during the Second World War.
Chairman
We often hear concepts like the First World, Second World and the Third World. Could you explain in brief what is meant by the First World?
Candidate
From the point of view of international economy, the World has been divided into three sections, that is, the First, Second and the Third. The First World includes The most affluent bloc led by the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, … (Before the Candidate Could complete his answer, one of the members intervenes)
Member 3
What about the Second World?
Candidate
Sir, I was going to come to this. The Second World includes the Communist bloc led by the former USSR and the East European countries.
 
(The Candidate goes on to define the Third World concept in order to make his answer complete.)
 
And sir, the Third World signifies the underdeveloped countries of Afro-Asia. Most of these countries were former colonies of Western powers.
Member 1
In which world is India included?
Candidate
Sir, obviously in the Third World. However, we are no more an underdeveloped country but a developing one.
Chairman
Mr Bhandari, who was the first foreign minister of India after Independence?
Candidate
Sir, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Member 2
But Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was India’s first prime minister.
Candidate
Sir, you are right. Pandit Nehru was the first prime minister of India but he also retained the portfolio of foreign minister with himself.
Chairman
Why was Siddhartha Shanker Ray, the former Governor Of Punjab, in the news recently?
Candidate
Sir, Mr S. S. Ray has become India’s ambassador to the United States from November 1992. He has taken over from Mr Abid Hussain.
Member 3
How is it that some countries have ambassadors while others have high commissioners? Is Mr S. S. Ray the new ambassador, or the high commissioner?
Candidate
Sir, envoys of Commonwealth countries like Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, etc., are known as high Commissioners and in other countries, they are known as ambassadors. The rank, however, in both cases is the same. Mr Ray is the Indian ambassador to the United States.
Chairman
What do you understand by the Chief of Protocol?
 
(Before the Candidate can answer, one of the members intervenes.)
Member
But there is also a chargé d’affaires. Who is superior of the two—an ambassador or a chargé d’affaires?
 
(The Candidate addresses the Member who last intervened and says)
Candidate
Sir, I will come to your question after I have replied to the first question.
 
(The Candidate now addresses the Chairman and says)
 
Sir, the Chief of Protocol is a senior officer in the Ministry of External Affairs. His main function is to arrange the tours of visiting dignitaries to India from other countries. He also receives and sees them off.
 
(Now the Candidate turns towards the Member and says)
 
Sir, an ambassador is senior in rank and the charge d’affaires comes next.
Member
Let us come to the lighter side of the interview. Mr Bhandari, tell us something about your hobbies and pastimes.
Candidate
Sir, I do not have any specific hobby as such. However, I enjoy doing some kitchen gardening and cooking during my spare time.
Chairman
(Addresses the members and says) Do you have anything else to ask Mr Bhandari?
Member
No, we think this is enough.
(The Candidate keeps sitting and does not get up during The conversation between the Chairman and the members.)
Chairman
Mr Bhandari, you have done very well. You can now go into the next room and write a brief résumé of our conversation.
Candidate
Thank you, sir.
(He now gets up and leaves the room gracefully.)




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