Friday, April 29, 2011

American Consul for Political and Economic Affairs arrives in Gangtok on official visit

GANGTOK, 28 April: The Office of the Consulate General of the United States of America, Kolkata appears to be taking a keen interest in collaborating with the Government of Sikkim specially in providing the state with technical expertise and funding options.
This development follows from the reputation of proactive governance that Sikkim has earned in the recent past, the 2015 missions declared by the Chief Minister and the exemplary status the state commands amongst all the eight Northeastern states.

After the US Consulate General, Beth Payne’s visit to Sikkim in October last year, Sikkim- US ties appear to be going into the next phase now with the arrival of yet another senior diplomat, Clinton S. “Tad” Brown, the Consul for Political and Economic Affairs. It may be recalled that the Consulate General had extended her stay here in Sikkim by a week which she described as ‘an unforgettable visit to Shangrila’.
Speaking to NOW! last evening, the Consul, who is here on an official two-day visit, explained that his short visit was intended at understanding the political and economical affairs of the state. The diplomat who hails from Buffalo in New York has been in Foreign Service with his first posting in Bangladesh and then in countries like Kenya and Cameroon informed that he has been posted in India for the past nine months now with the North east region being his priority sector.
“I have been to most of the Northeastern states but what I have found in Sikkim is that the people here are happy unlike other regions where violence is common. I am surprised that in Sikkim the three ethnic communities live like brothers and their cultures are interlinked. This is a phenomenal achievement in modern times which sets examples for all to follow”, he expressed.
Adding that his visit to Gangtok was to specifically interact with different sections of society including youth, senior government officials and legislators ‘learning’ more about the state and strengthening Indo- American relations, he explained, “what we are looking here is for us to understand and bond with the Sikkimese and then focus on areas where we can provide our support.”
Speaking on thrust areas where the US would want to collaborate with Sikkim, he said that emphasis on eco-tourism and finding ways for sustainable development would be an area of intervention. Similarly, he mentioned that the US would also like to join hands for the modernization of Sikkim and that the relation of the US with Sikkim would be a long-term process. “We would like to be here and collaborate and support innovative projects as Sikkim moves towards the future. We don’t want to figure out what to do overnight but build a long lasting relationship”, stated the Consul.
Further, he stressed on the subject of environmental conservation for which he also appreciated the initiatives of the state government under the leadership of the Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling. In this regard he explained that scientific expertise into ecological conservation would also be an area where the US could assist in the coming days.
Determining other priorities for Sikkim he added that education [student exchange programmes, selling high-tech technology for renewable hydro- energy generation, environmentally inclined tourism and pharmaceuticals could be areas where the US investors could be interested in.
“We will still spend some-time studying other areas where we can collaborate with the Government of Sikkim. We will also look at dealing with the local NGOs and how we can make their functioning more efficient. We will further study the agenda of the state government and decide on further issues. We will conduct surveys and more experts will start coming here now. We are positive that Sikkim is where we can collaborate without any ‘hindrances’, “explained the US Consul, Tad Brown.
Before concluding his interaction with NOW! Mr. Brown, who was all praises for the state, said that more US investors, students would like to come here.
“We are looking for a long lasting relation with Sikkim and have a broad outlook for the future. Sikkim and its people are contagious, remarkable and the beauty is breathtaking. We want to collaborate closely so more people from the Consulate will be visiting now. Even, I am coming back with my family for a holiday soon”, expressed Mr. Brown

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