India's state capacity is notoriously weak. Nowhere is it so weak as in its foreign policy apparatus. Bloomberg has a timely article on this,
India Has 1.3 Billion People, But Fewer Than 1,000 Diplomats... The nation of 1.3 billion people only deploys around as many diplomats as New Zealand, which has a population of around 5 million... With roughly 940 foreign service officers, India has one of the most understaffed diplomatic corps of any major country -- just slightly higher than New Zealand’s 885 officers, or Singapore’s 850. It’s vastly outnumbered by the Japanese and Australian services of around 6,000 people, the estimated 7,500 diplomats of rival China and the U.S. State Department’s service of nearly 14,000... In 2016, the ministry said it was still 140 officers short of its sanctioned strength of 912 diplomats.
Indian foreign policy capacity in terms of number of diplomats.
The capacity weakness manifests in its effectiveness
The shortage is particularly pronounced at a time when Modi has increased his foreign travel, visiting nearly 60 countries in just four years. Modi has made five visits each to the U.S. and China and four visits each to Russia and Germany. But thin staffing makes it difficult for India to follow up on his headline-generating outreach.
The decreasing attraction of foreign service as a career is nicely captured by this Shashi Tharoor statement,
It seems appalling that we have to make do with a diplomat who is only there because he couldn’t fulfill his dream of being a police superintendent or customs official.