Together with the first-ever Consul General of India in Atlanta, Ajit Kumar, Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that the Government of India has opened its first consulate office in Georgia as of the start of the new year.
"This marks a significant milestone in Georgia's international evolution," said Deal. "The Consulate General is the crowning symbol of the dynamic business and cultural connections India shares with our region and state."
In addition to Georgia, the office will serve the states of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Kumar, who has previously served as the Indian consul general in Frankfurt, Germany, and Durban, South Africa, and as Ambassador of India to the Republic of Zimbabwe, will lead a team of 20 full-time employees. The consulate's primary focus, aside from consular services, will be trade and investment, which will greatly enhance and encourage opportunities for commerce between Georgia and India. It will also serve the approximately 100,000 Indian nationals living in Georgia and roughly 290,000 across the Southeast with services such as visas, passports and other documents.
"This is a proud day for the State of Georgia, whose longtime efforts to locate an Indian Consulate General for the Southeastern United States in Atlanta culminated in the Indian government's 2008 announcement of its intentions," Deal said. "Despite the worldwide economic crisis, all parties have pressed forward vigorously to realize this purpose. The Indian Consulate is a vital addition to Atlanta's consular corps and community of trade commissions and bi-national chambers of commerce, which already represents more than 70 other countries and is a key component of Georgia's diversity and international success."