Chicago:“The bilateral trade between India and the US Midwest in 2014 was a staggering US$ 6.346 billion. This mindboggling trend continued unabated even in 2015 and for the 11 month period, January-November 2015, it was as high as US$ 5.72 billion, which constitutes around 10% of the total trade between India and the USA”, said Dr. Ausaf Sayeed at the “Pravasi Divas” and “Meet the Media” events, organized by the Consulate General of India on 8thJanuary, 2016 at its premises in Chicago.
“Illinois is the largest trading partner of India in the US Midwest with a total trade of US$ 2.01 billion in 2014, which includes India’s exports of US$ 1.364 billion, registering an increase of 14.4% in exports”, said Dr. Sayeed.
Dr. Sayeed congratulated the Indian-Americans for contributing to the economic growth of the US Midwest and hoped that this trend would get further strengthened in future. “There are 80 Indian Companies operating in the US Midwest, which have made cumulative investments of US $ 2.3 billion and have created 13,841 jobs”, he added.
“During 2016, the efforts of the Consulate would be directed towards strengthening the political, economic, cultural, educational, and people-to-people relationships between India and the US Midwest and, towards this, it would consolidate its working relationships with the offices of the Governors, Lt. Governors, Mayors, elected representatives, senior officials of Economic Departments of various States and leading Chambers of Commerce”, said Dr. Sayeed.
With a sense of pride, Dr. Sayeed announced that the Trade Delegations from Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, led by its Director, Jim Schultz, North Dakota Trade Mission, led by Drew Wrigley, Lt. Governor, the follow up Trade Mission of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, led by Lt. Governor Brian Calley, and a few more Business Delegations are expected to visit different cities of India in the coming months. “These visits by the high-level Delegations will further consolidate and enrich the bilateral relations between India and the US Midwest”, he added with a sense of optimism.
“During 2016, the Consulate would organize a number of high-impact making seminars in collaboration with Illinois Chambers of Commerce, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, India Chamber of Commerce, Minneapolis, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, US-India Chamber of Commerce, TiE, etc.”, said Dr. Sayeed. “These high-profile events, he said, would be greatly instrumental in giving a big boost to strategic and economic partnership between the US and India”, he added.
Dr. Sayeed said that, in addition to such cultural events as Republic Day Flag Hoisting, Independence Day Flag Hoisting, 2nd International Yoga Day, Kala Utsav, Gandhi Jayanti, and Constitution Day, the Consulate will screen the films ‘India Awakes’ and “For Here Or To Go”, in collaboration with the International House, University of Chicago, present Fusion Band and Stree Shakti Hindustani Instrumental Group, sponsored by ICCR, organize 2nd India-US Friendly Polo Tournament, in collaboration with Oakbrook Polo Club, and continue to give patronage to different socio-cultural organizations in Chicagoland in organizing such programs as “Eye on India”, “Chicago South Asian Film Festival”, “Hindi Lovers Club”, etc.
Dr. Sayeed said that during 2015, the Consulate has rendered a total of 77,642 services, the breakup being 36,267 visas, 15,898 passports, 13,896 OCI cards, 211 Emergency Certificates, 278 PIO Cards, and 11,092 miscellaneous consular services.
“As part of its outreach activities, the Consulate will organize “Open House” at its premises at least once every quarter. Besides, Consular Camps are planned in Chicago Suburbs, Detroit, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and St. Louis”, informed Dr. Sayeed and added that Escalation of Consular and Visa matters can be done using the email: firstname.lastname@example.org, which is personally monitored by him.
Dr Sayeed lauded the Indian-American Diaspora (Pravasis) for making significant contributions to the socio-economic development of India and invited them to whole-heartedly participate in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Flagship Programs, including “Make in India”, “Skills India”, “Swatch Bharat Abiyan”, “Digital India”, and “Green India”. He advised them to engage with the Government of India by using the portal: MyGov.in.
To mark the Vishwa Hindi Divas (World Hindi Day), which falls on January 10th, 2016, a special message from Narendra Modi was read out. The efforts of the Consulate towards promotion of Hindi in Chicagoland were also highlighted.
Dr. Sayeed introduced Desh Bandhu Bhati, Consul (Commercial, Political and Visa) and Rajeshwari Chandrasekaran, Consul (CG’s Office), who joined recently.
As part of the Parvasi Bhartiya Divas, three local organizations, “Pratham”, “Bharathi Theertha” and “India Development Coalition of America” shared their experiences of working on socio-economic and developmental projects in India.
O P Meena, Consul (Community Welfare), welcomed the gathering and also proposed a vote of thanks.