Atlanta wins and Bellevue loses.
A year ago, the Indian community announced that there will be a new Indian consular office in Bellevue. How excited we were to hear the news!
“There won’t be a consul office (in Bellevue),” said Ambassador Mrs. Susmita Thomas of San Francisco, at a Bellevue reception honoring her.
What? I was shocked.
Setting up a consulate office is a bilateral agreement between the United States and India. If a country wants to have a consular office in another country, it has to allow the other country to do the same in its own territory. India asked for two consular offices, one in Atlanta and the other in Bellevue. The United States granted only one office. The Indian government picked Atlanta, which has a much bigger Indian population, according to Mrs. Thomas.
“They (Atlanta’s Indian community) have been working on this a long time,” said Debadutta Dash.
“They lobbied really hard.”
“Doesn’t the United States want to set up more consul offices in India?” I asked.
“No,” Mrs. Thomas said. “The United States is not looking to increase its consul offices abroad.”
By the way, Mrs. Thomas is leaving this summer to be India’s ambassador to Turkey. It’s always delightful to see a woman rising up. Congratulations, Mrs. Thomas. ♦