In perhaps her last official interview to Siasat Daily before the end of her mission in the City US Consul General Katherine Hadda shares her views on various subjects ranging from business to cuisine to various projects in the Twin cities which were promoted by US Consulate in association with the various NGOs, Governments, and people.
In an interview with Ratna Chotrani
Katherine Hadda says that when she talks to US companies in Bengaluru or Hyderabad who are making decisions to expand many of them are choosing Telangana. The US has several companies in Bengaluru but when it comes to expansion many of them are choosing Telangana because it is less expensive, it has good infrastructure, has better investment environment in other words Telangana is doing well.
Telangana is on top of ease of doing business skill India and World Bank has ranked them consistently and honestly, it is a new state and just in the three years, I have been here at Hyderabad the infrastructure has improved a lot. In the short term, there can be chaotic but in the long term obviously there is planning going on, it is being followed, she says.
“Metro was completed when I was here. When we talk to companies who are making a decision to expand in Bangalore or Hyderabad many are choosing Hyderabad. So Telangana is doing a lot well she adds.
Speaking about her journey and how did she feel about Hyderabad she recalled ‘We lived in London We felt Welcomed enough But when I Think about it we had relatives there and my husband was in school there and so found it welcoming and were settled. We came to Hyderabad knowing no one but within a few weeks, we felt at home because there is an incredible family connection between the people of this region in India and the United States. Also the “Mehmaan Nawazi”
Q) You seem to have picked up a lot of Urdu?
She laughs and says “I have Picked up only this word There is lot to learn but I think that’s the concept I learnt Actually it was Sania Mirza the Tennis champion who taught me that word. Someone who’s as famous as she is so also the people from movie Stars, Officials, Teachers Business people schools all are open and welcoming. I remember being surprised to have been invited to a wedding among the first few days of my arrival here. It is just an example of how people want to open up their families their, homes and their important moments. So It’s a wonderful experience “
Q)We are going to indeed miss you . I want to know during your stay here what is it that you have understood that India needs to take forward. Currently there is trade war that is going on between the US and India which is unfortunate especially when the two countries are close now? What is the message you like to take home and tell Trump Government or tell Indian Prime Minister Narendar Modi to improve relations ?.
I Believe calling it a trade war is a bit extreme . I think we have some trade disagreements and one of the reasons for seeing these disagreements take place the way they do without dismantling the entire relationship is because every one agrees on both sides we have more going on between our countries in a closer way then ever before and cooperate on numerous different levels now . We are fond of saying if you name any subject matter that’s of any consequences in the world chance are we have a dialogue either a formal dialogue or internal dialogue informally to address those issues and to talk about the issues .And when you have relations with that depth its going to be normal that sometimes you are going to disagree . We are two great nations . You are going to be the largest nation ,by population the second largest . We are smaller than you but have the largest economy in the world. So we have interest But if you look up at how twining up for example I will give you a small example You know we used to talk about our interest in Pacific region .But now talk about Indo Pacific region and put India at the beginning of that. Because we do consider India an important country and a democracy and one we would welcome in shared interest in this region . And that’s just one example of how are relationship is at the moment . Iam not saying we should do to tell you We are going to do more.
If you look at the Defence relationships now when I first arrived in Hyderabad three years ago and my colleagues talked about the Indo US Defence relationship we thought it really not involved us (meaning the Consulate )but it’s incorrect. In just the time I have been here we have three major aerospace here they are producing components used by but companies around the world and are expanding.
When I visited Lockheed they told me when they first arrived in Hyderabad they had 25 American Engineers and now they are down to one because the level of expertise here was so great that they started producing the tail section of a plane called C1 30 jet and now those tail components for the plane are produced only in Hyderabad for everywhere in the world . Now they also propose to produce F16 wings here for requirement anywhere in the world . They have another metal to metal bonding which they can do internally .It will be three times bigger by next year .But even more Boeing is here as well. This is just one example .In the last six months there were two ships visiting Vizag .Who they were here they not only had meetings with Eastern Naval Command but did exercises ,they welcomed on board female English language students so that they could interact with the female crew on board and that interaction was so meaningful that we had Indian students asking how they could join the Indian Navy . We had joint exercises between Indian National Guards and Our special forces here in Hyderabad which lasted a month .For now they have increased interoperability thanks to the exercise that happened in Hyderabad and that was with National security Guard .But they also had exercise round the city that will help us cooperate better for natural disaster or if there is any terrorist attack Therefore you have to compartmentalize when you have differences Not that they are not serious( trade disagreements )but they become compartmentalized .When I’am gone there may be a Defence Trade relationship conference here in Hyderabad .
When i arrived three years ago there was barely any of this and now look at this it is completely flowering s We also have normal cooperation on anti trafficking tremendous work when I arrived . We coordinated with women Tollywood Directors and child ministry and came up with this powerful public service announcements which was shown in movie Theatres .It is a wonderful cooperation They put up a powerful trafficking cases where you take a trafficking victim make them a partner in prosecution rather than prosecute the prostitute What is really exciting is they all have national implications for India and for the United states For trafficking the models developed can be useful in other local languages and its nice to see our partnership is taken for national dimensions .
Q) How do you foresee the projects taken by you will progress once you are gone ?You think your successor will evince the same kind of interest ?
Yeah you are right in a way I think by being woman you got the attention .The reality is we always do programs to empower women as it is United States priority Anti trafficking is United states priority, religious freedom , entrepreneurship are US priorities . I think my successor will have many of the same interest .They may not come out in exactly the same way but it will be R remembered I’am only the face of the Consulate We have dozens of talented people who run the Consulate Many of them are local people who have been here for long time for more than ten years They are our memory and expertise and we cannot do without them as they speak the local langue know the local environment have history behind them and Iam confidence things will go up and up after I leave.
Q~ What is it that you have evinced interest while you have been here in THE culturally side?
Showing of a Pochampally stole she said this is my favourite piece Today I have officially taken a photograph for the wall of the US Consulate and so I had to wear handlooms .What I like about Pochampally is its really beautiful historic as it has history too and represents communities What I like to do is pair up with Westerns . So that people don’t think you have to wear saris . I love saris but you don’t have to wear them I’am going to wear this in Washington as well.
Q)You have seen recent elections in Telangana what do you think Telangana could do to imjprove ?
I’am not going to presume I’am not going to presume . In my opinion what we value about Telangana is how open and welcoming it is to US business which is a huge interest here because we see is what I call a intellectual supply chain
How has your journey been with the cuisine of Telangana . Laughs you can look at my body .
It doesn’t show much .
I have definitely put put on some kilos But I like to food here very much
Did you learn something?
The problem is you are in the city which is packed with good restaurants .It is not sought of an incentive to cook . I love to cook Ii would love to make some of the Karampodis spice mixture (eaten with Idli)but honestly I would be seeking out the Hyderabad restaurants in Washington which I Know exists then cook myself. But I love the variety of cuisine the Nizam cuisine the coastal Andhra cuisine .I love the spice .
You love the spice?
My Husband and I lived in China where they eat a lot of spice too . There is a type of Chinese cuisine the Schezwan cuisine and you know how authentic it is when you see the number of tissues n the table . The spice here is different but nice .
What’s your favourite food out here in Hyderabad.
Did you learn to cook . No maybe sometime She also loves the cookies from Nimra Cafe the Osmani biscuits from Nimra café I love the salt and sweet taste it is a good combination and of course the Chai .
You mean the typical Indian tea
Yes the chai.