India's plans to open a new consulate in Seattle could not fructify after the Barack Obama administration, in an apparent reversal of George Bush government's decision, informed India that it would be allowed a new mission either in Atlanta or in Seattle, and not in both the cities.
India this week made operational its new consulate in Atlanta, the fifth in the US, but the original plan was to have a new consulate each in Atlanta and Seattle.
In October 2008, India and the US had announced that India will open two new consulates in Atlanta and Seattle, given the increase in population of Indian Americans in these parts of the country and their growing significance for India-US ties.
The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting between the then US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in Washington.
The then Foreign Secretary, Shivshankar Menon, had even informed the Indian media about this at a news conference.
However, the Obama administration decided to give permission for opening of only one consulate.
"On August 20, 2010, the Department informed the Government of India that it could open a consulate in either Atlanta or Seattle.
"On February 25, 2011, the Government of India informed the Department that it had chosen Atlanta as the site of its new consulate," the State Department said in a statement emailed to media persons in response to a question asked at the daily press briefing on Thursday.
"The opening of consulates is governed by principles of reciprocity. We refer you to the Government of India for further information on its selection of Atlanta as the site of its new consulate," the State Department said.
The Indian consulate in Atlanta became operational this week, making it the fifth Indian Consulate in the US after New York, San Francisco, Houston and Chicago.