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Milan Association Meet With Consul General Of India New York

Geetha Patil

A virtual meet with Consulate General of India, New York was organized  by Mr. Suresh Sharma, Chairman, Milan Cultural Association, Inc., CT under the joint auspices of, Milan Chapters from MA, NY, VA on evening of March 24th, 202. More than 500 people on the Zoom and many more on the Facebook participated in this meet to learn more about the new changes in the passport, VISA, OCI card and issues, Travel to India and current travel restrictions, Emergency services along with many more topics. In addition, most of them were interested in getting live answers from  Hon. Consul General and his team members for their questions and the challenges and delays they are experiencing due to global COVID-19 situation. 

The program started with the welcome and thank you remarks and the outlines of program by Mr. Sharma. He said that India and Indian Diaspora are getting positive and encouraging global media coverage as a fast-emerging power in terms of political, economic, climate control , strategic defense alliances and as a productive force contributing to the strength of America. Our Consul General is playing a significant role in accomplishing this goal. He introduced Hon. Consul General of India New York to the participants by saying that he is a career diplomat who served more than two decades as India’s diplomat in Portugal, Cuba, South Africa and permanent mission of India and New York. In between, he also served in the Ministry of External Affairs and managed the PM’s International relations portfolio. He is very passionate about youth potential and the future of India both inside and outside as a builder of its image and culture. He is very accommodative and interacts closely with the policy maker and community members at the same time. 

Hon. Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Consul General of India talked concisely on the topic: Emerging US-India relations- Role of Indian American Community. He said, “everyone is impacted due to Pandemic but currently, the vaccination rates in USA are on the higher side compared to India. But now India has opened its vaccination drive to cover 45 and older age groups and hopefully India will pick up the speed and by the end of this summer, more 300 hundred million  people will be vaccinated in India. This will help us to bring back economy and return to normal life soon.” He also asked people to be careful and follow social distancing and wearing of masks as we are noticing some spikes in the Corona cases here and there in India as well as in other countries around the world. Furthermore, he added some scary situations are created due to South African and Brazilian variants. Because of this, tourist VISAs remain suspended. During this havoc India is going to do good in the economic development with double digit growth. 

Next, Hon. Consul General of India added that India is going to celebrate its 75th Independence Day in 2022 and we expect your active participation in that.  Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has launched a program titled Azadi ka अमृत महोत्सव on March 12, 2021 (the day when Salt Satygraha was launched by Mahatma Gandhi)  to realize his vision of building a new, AatmaNirbhar Bharat by the year 2022. To commemorate the monumental occasion, all Departments and Ministries are going to host a set of activities for a resurgent, Aatmanirbhar Bharat. 

He talked about the recent “Quad” --U.S., India, Japan, and Australia – meet that is going to work for the positive developments in  the Indo-Pacific region. In our mission for Indo-US connect, we focus more on building close ties in areas like climate change and renewable energy;  education and knowledge partnership; digital space and innovation and start up; health care, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and dealing with health challenges during pandemic; and defense, peace, security and strategic partnership. ‘We also concentrate on people to people connect, and we seek your support and cooperation in fulfilling these key areas’ –said by Hon. Consul General. 

Mr. Sharma, the moderator of event consolidated all the participants’ questions under several topics namely: New changes in OCI Visa & Consular matters; Passport, Visa, OCI Card issues; Emergency Visa, Power of Attorney and other; Travel to India and current restrictions, etc.; Emergency Services to Indian American Community members in need with some narration of complex scenarios. Hon. Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Consul General of India with his team of experts answered all the questions from the participants very clearly and advised to visit their website periodically for all the updates and use their 24/7 PRAMIT helpline if any clarifications needed. 

Hon. Consul General said that the operations in the VFS Center are impacted by the pandemic situation. There will be delay in the delivery of services by the VFS Center. ‘For that, we seek your understanding and cooperation’- Hon. Consul General stated. He also said that they are catching up with all the requests as their new outsourcing service provider is getting up to the speed. Now, their office will accept online applications for OCI, Renunciation, Passport and GEP services through VFS Global but no Walk-in Services until further notice. 

For more information visit their Website at: http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa

 The details of the VFS Global Application Center in New York is:

Indian Consular Application Center
145 W 45th Street
3rd Floor
New York, New York 10036

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