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India’s Amritsar may get new US consulate: Former envoy Sandhu

The new consulate, if becomes a reality, will help in providing improved visa facilities and trade expansion for people living near the border.

Former Indian ambassador to the US and a leader of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, with Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (ANI Photo)

By: Twinkle Roy

FORMER Indian ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, recently said that the city of Amritsar in the northern Indian state of Punjab may soon get an American consulate. The 60-year-old diplomat, who retired from the post in January, joined India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at its headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday (19) and speculation is rife that he may contest the upcoming general elections from Amritsar.

Sandhu, who was posted in the US between 2020 and 2024, had a meeting with Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and claimed that the city in Punjab located close to the Pakistan border could be chosen to house a new US consulate, The Tribune reported.

Read: India’s former envoy to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu joins Modi’s BJP

He said two new consulates could be opened in India by Washington and Jaishankar assured him that efforts will be made to make one of them in the holy city.

As an envoy, Sandhu is credited for opening the Indian consulate in Seattle in the US in November last year. In 1992, he also had the honour of opening the Indian embassy in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, which became an independent nation following the disintegration of the former Soviet Union.

The Tribune added that the decision to set up a consulate in Amritsar was taken in 2016 when Barack Obama was the president of the US.

Sandhu said people living in the border area would have convenience to get visas in Amritsar and the traders would be encouraged to expand their businesses.

On the occasion, the former ambassador also spoke with Jaishankar about initiating cargo services from Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport in Amritsar and increasing the air connectivity to various parts of the world.

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