India’s new Consul General in New York Binaya Srikant Pradhan shares his views and vision about Indian Americans and the US-India relationship

India’s new Consul General in New York Binaya Srikant Pradhan, left, in conversation with ITV Gold program host
Ashok Vyas. The interview was scheduled for broadcast Jan. 26, 2024. PHOTO: ITV Gold

(Extracts from interview aired on ITV Gold Jan. 26, 2024)

India’s new Consul General in New York Binaya Srikant Pradhan was interviewed by ITV Gold recently. The interview was aired on Jan. 26, 2024, India’s 75th Republic Day. Here are extracts from the interview lightly edited for style and clarity:

… I was thrilled to see the connect the Indian diaspora retains with India. Gives you a sense you are really home. Really happy.

… Coming to developments in India – this is a great time. A great time to be in India. This is a great time to represent India. And this is also a great time to see the things that are happening in India.

A government under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has declared that we would e a developed nation by 2047!

… I learnt Russian long back and when you join our foreign service you learn a foreign language. That’s how I went to Russia learnt Russian. Subsequently, I was posted in Russia in 2019 for two years as Deputy Chief of Mission, as Deputy Ambassador.

Coming to our relationship with Russia—It’s a very solid relationship that has stood the test of time. It is a solid relationship even today. That is a relationship that should stand on its own merit. I don’t see any reason why we should mix it.

India’s relationship with the US, its like old friends. It’s a defining relationship of the 21st Century, having immense potential. We have only tapped the tip of the iceberg… the relationship has unlimited potential. But simultaneously, the India-Russia relationship is a strong, robust relationship.

… This is the first time I am on a diplomatic assignment on a long-term basis in the United States. But this is not my first visit to your country. I have been coming here for now 20 years. I have worked with many Indian American friends. When I was working with the Ministry of Petroleum, we  used to come every year to Houston.

… I’m aware of the positive role that the Indian community, the Indian diaspora, plays here. I’m aware about the rich contributions they have made in bringing the two countries together. So, it’s a strength. We celebrate the success of the Indian community here. We feel proud of their success.

In the last week I have stayed here, I have met many leaders of the Indian community. Yesterday, we were having a virtual farewell to the Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu. And that was a time where I got to hear the views of the Indian community about the Indian Embassy, about the Consulates, and also the views of the Indian Ambassador about the Indian diaspora. That reinforced my belief that this is a very special community.

The Indian diaspora that we have here, and the Indian passport-holders, it’s a more than 5 million-strong community. And it is a world in itself, because it has American citizens, it has Indian passport-holders, it has 2nd generation Indo-Americans. So it’s a very healthy mix of all possible set of people. And all of them, in their own way, are contributing – while contributing to the betterment of the US, they are also contributing to the deepening of our relationship.

… I also want to keep our focus on our primary focus – to help the community which is in need of the assistance of the Indian Consulate. It has remained our focus, and for which we have made several initiatives.

There has been lot of appreciation about the digital services we are providing now – for example – now there is a portal called Pramit. So, you put your query there, not only Consulate, but say a trade query, or other things, and you will get a reply. The system is devised in a way that if we are not able to respond properly, it will come to me. So its not going into some kind of a dark hole.

In addition to that, we have a chatbot. We are receiving about 500 queries and we are responding to that. We also have an online app which is the Consulate General of India app which is responding to people.

So, I would say – I am open to using new platforms, open to using new means, to reach out to everybody.

If we receive a complaint, our effort would be to resolve it within the same day. In fact, I am so happy to see that the Consulate here is providing passports within 24 hours, it is providing OCI Card within 20-25 days. And we are open 24/7, all 7 days. There are instances of providing services Saturdays, Sundays. Our colleagues come on the weekend to provide some emergency services required.

(Talking about the 26th January Republic Day celebrations)

This year it is a special Republic Day because it is the 75th Republic Day. You would remember in our schools, we celebrate Republic Day in a very different way. This is one of our main festivals.

Even as a small child, you celebrate it, so that remains a fixture in your life. But growing up, then you realize the significance of the occasion for every Indian, that includes even Indian friends who at some stage had some connection to India, just to have India in their hearts.

This is an occasion to remember two things – one, the sacrifices that people made to make us an independent country, and also a Republic, and people who helped to have one of the best written Constitutions in the world. And second, I always feel, a country can be forward-looking only when it has learnt to celebrate its successes.



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