In a significant move aimed at fostering stronger bilateral ties, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has reached out to Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s Ambassador to the US. In her letter, she underlined the importance of Los Angeles as a potential site for a new Indian consulate, citing the city’s sizeable Indian-American community and the substantial number of Indian visitors each year.
“I ask that you consider the City of Los Angeles for a new Indian Consulate,” Mayor Bass wrote. “It would be my honor to work with you to open and provide continued support for this important platform for engagement and exchange.” The mayor’s letter is not just a solitary request. It comes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revelation in June about India’s plans to open two additional consulates in the US. While Seattle is confirmed as one of the locations, the other is still up for grabs.
“Considering our vibrant Indian-American community and a steady flow of Indian visitors, Los Angeles makes a compelling case,” wrote Mayor Bass. She further emphasized that the relationship between India and Los Angeles, especially in tourism, has always been fruitful. “Los Angeles has invested in India with a dedicated Tourism Office that opened in 2019 and remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.”
As America’s second-largest city, Los Angeles isn’t just vying for the consulate based on its Indian-American populace. Mayor Bass’s letter highlighted the city’s strategic importance on national and global fronts. She stated, “Beyond our large Indian-American community, Los Angeles holds strategic significance. With the Western Hemisphere’s largest port complex, a bustling startup scene, and gearing up for grand events like the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the opportunities for deeper Indo-US collaboration here are immense.”
Driving the point home, Mayor Bass underscored the cosmopolitan nature of Los Angeles. In her letter, the mayor noted that LA’s success extends beyond the glamour of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. She highlighted the city’s impact on the biotech, aerospace, and green technology industries. This, she emphasized, makes the potential for collaboration with India boundless.
Bass’ letter also deftly pointed out that Los Angeles is no stranger to international diplomacy. “Twelve G20 countries have consulates in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and an additional five G20 countries have consulates solely in Los Angeles,” she elaborated in her letter.
As the letter rounds in diplomatic circles, it’s clear that Mayor Bass is not merely proposing a new consulate. She’s envisioning a bridge of enhanced engagement, cooperation, and mutual growth between two major democracies. With already established Indian consulates in cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta, adding Los Angeles could be a strategic masterstroke in bolstering Indo-US relations.
Ambassador Sandhu, in concert with critical decision-makers in India, now holds the reins to this pivotal decision. Evaluating Mayor Bass’s articulate plea, they’ll weigh the tangible benefits against a broader strategic landscape. If they give the green light to a consulate in Los Angeles, it wouldn’t merely serve as a procedural hub. Instead, it would echo the ever-strengthening ties between Los Angeles and India, reflecting a dynamic and enduring partnership.