What a dumb move. What opportunity to cultivate does a course offer that a trip abroad as a tourist will not? Hell, there are enough opportunities to cultivate in India as arms corruptions scandals show. Let MI and IB counter-intelligence do their jobs.
And what about the IAS/IPS? Half of them are out on courses on sponsored courses on development and policing abroad. Are they going to be similarly restricted or do we not care about foregn influence at that level of national administration or our intelligence agencies(primarily officered by the IPS)?
This is one more of those "showing the military its place" moves by the IAS. Puerile and petty. That said one must admire them too. Incompetent professionally they may be, but going by the "wah-wah"ing on the forum clearly they can read their audience well.
In my view you underestimate the value of good hospitality shown to guests. Pakis do it all the time to win over Indian hearts and minds.
Little things like the US visa simply getting stamped without an interview at the consulate etc can go a long way towards making anyone feel special. Anyone who is given a car to go around, shown around, given free trips to great sites and put up in fantastic accommodation will become sympathetic to the people who were friendly with him. Psy ops basics
I will just quote a few paras from my 2007 book on Pakistan on the value of hospitality
Hospitality and generosity:
The characteristic of being extremely hospitable and generous to guests has stood Pakistanis and Pakistan in good stead. No visitor to Pakistan goes away without being touched by this, and this characteristic has been used to good effect by Pakistan over the years.
An article in the American magazine, The Weekly Standard had this to say in its Nov 5th 2001 edition:
..the attractive character of elite Pakistani officials. Compared with their haughty Indian and chaotic Afghan neighbors, Pakistani VIPs are often wittier, warmer, and more knowledgeable about the insider gossip of U.S. politics. American diplomats and spooks often have a good deal of fun with their Westernized Pakistani counterparts. As one congressional staffer, who frequently visits south-central Asia, succinctly put it, "I like 'em; the Indians are jerks."
A series of Western writers and prominent people have been hosted and feted in Pakistan, and have later served as honorary ambassadors for Pakistan in the Western media.
One prominent example is the famous American pilot, Chuck Yeager, who was a guest of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and who later went on to write paeans about the PAF For many years after the PAF was comprehensively defeated in successive wars with India, Yeager's words of praise of the Pakistan Air Force continued to be quoted, maintaining a reputation for the PAF that extended far beyond its real performance.
Pakistani hospitality has charmed a large number of prominent writers to write positively about Pakistan, and some have gone as far as to make needlessly hostile and malicious references to India in their writings despite strong evidence that their words are misinformed at best, and often just plain wrong. Prominent among people who have written warm words for Pakistan are writers like Brian Cloughley, Eric Margolis and John Fricker.
As recently as June 2002, the Washington Post reported:
It was mid afternoon Tuesday, and Anwar Mahmood, Pakistan's information secretary, was on the phone discussing with an underling how to keep more than 100 foreign journalists happy for the rest of the week...if it keeps the reporters satisfied, he figured, it's worth the $3,000 it will cost his ministry to rent the plane from Pakistan International Airlines...The Pakistani government, eager to make its voice heard, has ordered foreign embassies to expedite visas for journalists...Five times in the past month, the Information Ministry has rented air-conditioned buses to carry journalists to the Line of Control... There they are treated to hour-long military briefings, complete with maps, displays of Indian mortar shells -- and tea sandwiches served on trays by white-gloved soldiers. You won't get such hospitality from the Indian army.