Karnataka seeks US consulate in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru: US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster calls on Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on May 31, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

Bengaluru, May 31 : Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Thursday urged the US to open its consulate in this tech city at the earliest.

“The US should open its consulate in Bengaluru at the earliest to facilitate, among other things, granting of its visas to the citizens of our state,” Kumaraswamy told US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster who called on him here.

The US has consulates in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad besides its embassy in New Delhi but not in India’s technology hub.

“The Chief Minister has assured Juster infrastructure, including land, building and support system to enable the US set up a consulate in the city, which has the largest number of American firms,” said the Chief Minister’s office in a statement.

Referring to the warm and long-standing relations between Karnataka and the US, the Chief Minister told the US envoy that hundreds of Kannadigas were working at top positions in the US and a growing number of citizens from across the state visit America as tourists through the year.

“A consulate with facilities to process and issue visas will help our people to save time, energy and cost as most of them go to Chennai or Hyderabad for visa interviews and collecting their passports or travel documents in person,” the statement said.

Responding to the Chief Minister’s plea, Juster said he would convey the state’s request to the US Administration for setting up a consulate in Bengaluru soon.

“About 370 US companies operate from Bengaluru and contribute significantly to the state’s economy. They, however, face infrastructure problems in the city, which needs to be addressed on priority,” Juster told Kumaraswamy.

The Chief Minister directed the officials concerned to meet the heads of US firms and resolve the issues at the earliest.

Chennai-based US Consul General Robert G. Burgess, US Economic Officer Joseph Bernath and US Public Affairs Officer Lauren Lovelace participated in the meeting Juster had with Kumaraswamy at the state secretariat in the city centre.

State Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha briefed the US delegation on the measures taken to improve the city’s infrastructure, including signal-free traffic movement, extension of the metro rail system and building elevated express highways for high-speed movement of vehicles across the tech hub.