US embassy opens north India office

New Delhi: To cater to the 355 million people living in north Indian states, the US embassy on Friday announced the creation of a North India Office.

“For the embassy’s work in northern states — Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh — along with the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Chandigarh union territory, the level of exchange and contact has grown to the point that this new office within the embassy will be charged with its coordination,” the embassy said in a statement.

“During 2016, the North India Office’s first full year of operation, the office will focus on programs on skills development, smart cities, improving air quality, promoting multicultural societies, boosting economic growth, and combatting gender-based violence with partners throughout the region,” it added.

Speaking at a function here, Jonathan Kessler, Director of the North India Office, said that as the US-India strengthened “expanding our work with state and local governments and civil society organisations is one very important way we strengthen that cooperation”.

“This year, we have begun projects to enrich skills development efforts in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

“We are promoting smart city development in Allahabad and Ajmer.”

Kessler also said that the North India Office just finished a series of workshops in Delhi, Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Lucknow where local experts and leaders on air pollution worked with American counterparts to share ideas on how north Indian states could improve air quality.

According to him, in the next few months the new office will be exhibiting a special set of photographs from Indian communities in America promoting the US and India together as multicultural societies.

“We will sponsor a seminar in Jaipur to share ideas about boosting economic growth featuring representatives of our most successful American investment destinations, and we will be partnering with Indian organisations to help combat gender-based violence,” the director said.

“While we are putting together these programmes, our office has also helped the embassy expand this outreach to every state in north India by meeting with businesses, NGOs, students and teachers, officials, farmers, nurses, policemen, and many others,” he said.

“Our goal is to understand north India better so that we can make our partnership more robust and vibrant.”