After Atlanta, India now working to open Consulate in Seattle
Washington: India has renewed its bid to establish a consulate in the US city of Seattle - the home of Boeing and Microsoft -- now that it’s latest diplomatic post in Atlanta is operational.
The Indian Embassy in Washington while floating its tender for outsourcing of visa and passport services has told prospective bidders to be ready to set up their facilitating centres in Seattle (when notified) along with other Indian diplomatic missions in the US - Washington DC (where the Embassy is located) and five Consulates in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta.
It is understood that while the State Department has given the approval in principal, necessary clearance for establishing the Seattle Consulate is yet to come.
Indian officials would not comment as to when they expect the Seattle Consulate to start functioning, but the US has termed it as a positive sign in the growing partnership between the two countries.
"The Department of State considers the Government of India`s desire to open new consular posts in the United States as a positive sign in the growing partnership between our countries," Emily Horne, spokesperson of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the State Department said.
The decision to establish Indian Consulate in Atlanta and Seattle was taken in October 2008 during the meeting of the then US President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
According to a State Department statement issued in January this year, on August 20, 2010, the Department informed the Government of India that it could open a consulate in either Atlanta or Seattle.
"On February 25, 2011, the Government of India informed the Department that it had chosen Atlanta as the site of its new consulate. The opening of consulates is governed by principles of reciprocity," it said.
The State Department said it continues to review the necessity of additional diplomatic missions in India given the increase in relationship between the two countries.
"The State Department constantly evaluates our diplomatic presence and footprint around the world. As the number of American citizens, business, and visa applicants keeps growing abroad we are of course examining how best we can furnish services to them," Horne said.
"In view of India`s rise and our burgeoning strategic and economic partnership, we recognise India`s growth into one of the top three global economies, further necessitating ongoing, careful review of this kind," she said.
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