Dr TV Nagendra Prasad, the newly appointed consul general of India in San Francisco, hit the ground running from the day he joined the office in June.
Whether it was the sudden passing of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Vande Bharat mission, the OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) issues, the F-1 visa imbroglio, he has been hands on and leading from the front.
In an interview with indica News, Consul General Prasad said trade and Investment was a major focus area for him.
He also said he wants the OCI card printed here in the US.
“The only thing needed is to get some approval and some hardware,” he said. “But it will happen, action has already started and I am trying to push my best.”
He said it was a need he realized immediately after joining the office.
“It takes over 21 days for the printed cards to come and the rest of the work is done here. Also, the passports are printed locally then why not the OCI cards?” he said.
Earlier, Dr Prasad was a joint secretary heading the Gulf division at India’s ministry of external affairs.
Born in the district of Warangal in what is now Telangana, he graduated from the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University and received his PhD from the prestigious Indian Agricultural and Research Institute in New Delhi.
He joined the Indian Foreign Service in the year 1993 and served in various positions at Indian Missions including Tehran, London, Thimphu, Berne and Ashgabat. He was India’s ambassador to Turkmenistan from July 2014 to January 2018.
Highlighting the push to make India a manufacturing hub, Consul General Prasad said he has been having meetings with several people and companies and they have shown positive interest in India.
There was huge scope and opportunity now because of the crisis precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
“Not only me, several analysts believe that India can drive the global economy because it has the capacity,” he said.
The Haas School of Business, Berkeley’s Innovation Forum is hosting a seminar from August 5-7 called the Rebuilding India Series.
Consul General Prasad said the seminar is to enhance economic and business cooperation post-COVID-19 and will have participation from the Indian government with leading names like Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani.
Asked what in his view is needed most to the Make in India project successful and what he expects from Silicon Valley, Consul General Prasad said that until now Silicon Valley was acknowledged as the knowledge industry and service industry. But he believes that the Bay Area can also offer to manufacture in India.
He said in the past weeks he had a series of meetings with IITians, TiE Silicon Valley, Bay Area Council companies in telemedicine, and companies that manufacture medical equipment.
“I learned from my interaction, people are [to manufacture in India] and that gives you a bit of confidence, “ he said. “A lot can be done on medical equipment and telemedicine, and India is the best place where they can manufacture.”
He though did not say which are the companies interested in India but said he was impressed to see Bloom Energy co-founded by KR Sridhar, whose company’s ventilator can treat four people without cross-contamination.
“You know how the demand is for ventilators in this COVID situation. So innovation has been done, it has to be scaled and manufactured and I am very much interested,” Consul General Prasad said. “So these give confidence.”
He said ease of doing business in India had improved significantly, and the state governments are as interested in investment as the federal government is.
“Just look at Hyderabad. How it was and [how it is] today after the entire IT Industry is there. It’s completely different,” he said. “Everything has changed and everyone has benefited.”
“The opportunity is here, the availability of talent is here, and people and companies are after certain growth. I think… that is where India can really benefit. And they can also benefit. It’s a win-win for both,” Consul General Prasad said.