Why The United States Should Open New Consulates in India
A good piece by Michael Rubin in the National Interest:
India will likely become the most populous country on Earth this year, and, yet, outside of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, there are only four State Department consulates in the country of 1.4 billion. That is fewer consulates than the State Department operates in France and fewer offices than the U.S. Embassy services in Spain. The Canadian province of Quebec, whose population totals less than nine million, merits two consulates in the State Department’s view.
…The United States computer and tech industry rests disproportionately on the labor and intellectual contributions of America’s vast Indian-American community. If Silicon Valley is the center of America’s computer industry, then Bangalore is its equivalent in India. The interaction between the two is significant. And yet, while India maintains a consulate in San Francisco, the United States has no equivalent in Bangalore; the closest American post is more than 200 miles away in Chennai. It need not be an either/or decision, but at the very least the State Department should explain why maintaining an investment in Winnipeg, Canada is more important than nurturing the relationship between two of the largest tech hubs in the world.
… if U.S. diplomacy is to be effective, it needs to adjust to twenty-first-century realities rather than nineteenth-century ones.
With more consulates might we not also cut the ridiculous and embarrassing time it takes to get a US visitor or business Visa? When I was last in Delhi I met with one of the economic officers at the American Embassy. His job was to drum up business between India and the US–how can anyone do that when business visa’s are so difficult to acquire? Talk about the land of red tape!
Hat tip: Ben.
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