One year ago, the US Consulate General Mumbai transitioned from its previous locations in Breach Candy and Churchgate to the Bandra-Kurla Complex. In the time since, the Consulate has welcomed a diverse audience from Mumbai and beyond: students, teachers, writers, business and community leaders, artists, goodwill ambassadors and media persons — in different ways each visitor contributes to the expanding US-India partnership.
Our consulate’s visa operations have increased in volume and efficiency in the last year. The new facility and systems have ensured a shorter wait time and a spacious, comfortable experience for visa applicants and US citizens seeking assistance. Beyond visas, we have opened our doors to help enhance understanding of the United States and the world.
Our American Library continues to expand its services with new members joining each week.
Our weekly film screenings and monthly speaker programme have gained new audiences and fans. As we shifted north, we have also shifted online, taking diplomacy to the internet through ongoing interaction with Western India through Facebook and Twitter in English as well as regional languages.
Our programmes demonstrate the US government’s deep appreciation of the diversity of India, which parallels the diversity of the US.
Among the dozens of public programmes and events, highlights from the past year include the performance of Make Chai Not War, a comedy showcase of three Indian-Americans who talked about religious tolerance, breaking down prejudices, and their experiences of growing up as Indian-Americans in the US; a photography contest underscoring our commitment to the empowerment of women and girls to mark International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month; and a panel discussion on Expanding Female Leadership in Regional Media on World Press Freedom Day.
The Consulate also hosted a roundtable discussion on combating human trafficking; we brought together experts representing civil society, state government agencies, the judiciary, and academia to share ideas and best practices.
A Sanskrit phrase summarizes the spirit in which we seek to serve and engage the Western region of India: Udaarcharitanam tu vasudeva kutumbakam (“For those who live magnanimously the entire world is a family”).
The Consulate General is a home to a diverse set of new experiences and opportunities; we welcome you to come visit us for a US visa or to simply browse our selection of US magazines. We are grateful for the warm hospitality Mumbai has shown us, and we look forward to many more years of service from our new BKC location.
(The writer is the US consul general in Mumbai)