Bengaluru’s long-standing dream of hosting a US consulate in the city is one step closer to reality as Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has expressed his support for the same.
Responding to the latest request made by BJP’s Karnataka co-spokesperson AH Anand through Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda for the same, Jaishankar expressed his support for the request saying, “I am sure that given its strong economic and social link with the US, Bengaluru will also be considered as a possible location for setting up the new US consulate.”
The demand for a US Consulate has been on since years, as most Bengalureans and people from other parts of the state were forced to travel to Chennai and Hyderabad in huge numbers to get various work related to visa applications and others done.
Anand had mentioned in his letter that about 450 visa applicants from south Karnataka travelling to Chennai every day and an equal number of applicants from north Karnataka visiting Hyderabad every day.
The letter was forwarded multiple times to the Ministry of External Affairs via MPs representing Karnataka in the Lok Sabha. Earlier in July, Udupi-Chikkamagaluru MP Shobha Karandlaje had also met the Union Minister to hand over the same request.
Requested EAM Sri @DrSJaishankar Ji to take initiative to fulfil state’s long standing demand for a US consulate office at Namma Bengaluru.
Now, people has to travel to Chennai/Hyd for Visas & also the no. of people visiting US is increasing a consulate in BLR will help us alot. pic.twitter.com/mh3AtCDaBd
— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) July 17, 2019
It can be recalled that former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy had also reiterated in many occasions that a US consulate in Bengaluru would help many. Kumaraswamy, the then CM, had requested the US Ambassador to do the needful “at the earliest to facilitate the visa requirement of the citizens visiting the US.” He had also extended the support of the state government for all infrastructural and initial requirements to implement the same, in May 2018.
CM HD Kumaraswamy requested the U.S Ambassador to open a U.S consulate in Bengaluru at the earliest to facilitate the visa requirement of the citizens visiting the U.S. CM further said that all infrastructure&other initial requirements will b extended by the govt forthe purpose pic.twitter.com/UZiq1yCUV6
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) May 31, 2018
There has been renewed hope among citizens and representatives recently after External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said in Lok Sabha that it was agreed during Prime Minister Modi’s 2016 visit to the US that India would open a new consulate in Seattle and the US would open the same at a mutually agreed location in India.
However, minister Jaishankar has clarified that the final call in this matter rests with US officials.