Bengaluru, March 24: Union Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar on Friday said that he would ask United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken to set up a US consulate in Bengaluru soon.
Jaishankar was speaking during a Yuva Samvada organized by Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya at the RV Dental College, JP Nagar. When asked by Surya why Bengaluru does not have a US Consulate even though it contributes 40% of the country’s IT revenue, Jaishankar said: “If I were a resident of Bengaluru, this (request) makes perfect sense. Even for a decision maker in America, it makes perfect sense. Why it has not happened so far – it is for my American counterpart to take a call. But I do think it is a compelling ask.
“It’s honestly a no-brainer. Since you have put it so strongly and repeatedly, I assure you that the next time I meet Mr Anthony Blinken, I will hammer home that message with at least as much force as you have done (right now).”
Surya had requested Jaishankar for a US consulate in November 2019 and had also placed a request with the Ambassador of the US to India, Dr Kenneth Juster, in March 2020. The assurance received at the Yuva Samvada on Friday will go a long way in setting up the US Consulate in the city, a long-standing demand of Bengalureans.
At the Yuva Samvada, Jaishankar spoke on a variety of topics, including the significance of hosting the G20 Summit this year, relationship with Russia and China, priorities of the Quad and India’s humanitarian efforts in Syria, Turkey and Afghanistan. The Yuva Samvada is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s outreach programme for the youth, especially first-time voters ahead of the 2023 Karnataka Legislative Assembly Elections.
During the event, Surya also spoke about the contribution of Bengaluru to the country. “India is the world’s fastest growing large economy and is touching new milestones everyday. Our state Karnataka is leading that growth in India.
“In the last 4 years, the state that has attracted the highest FDI is Karnataka. Karnataka also houses the world’s fastest growing city, which is projected to grow as the fastest growing city for next 15 years too – Namma Bengaluru.
“The state that ranks top at the National Innovation index is Karnataka. It’s also here that 400 out of the Fortune 500 companies operate. Additionally, 65% of India’s aerospace and defence manufacturing happens in Bengaluru. It is a matter of pride that the city with the largest metro connectivity in the South is Bengaluru.
“In the entire country, Bengaluru is also the city with the largest per capita income and 50% of the country’s unicorns were started and are operating in the state. This is the kind of fast-paced growth track which Karnataka is on, under the double engine governments of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.”