U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office
U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office

SEATTLE (Diya TV) — India has a U.S. consulate expansion in the works, and has announced plans to open the country’s sixth location in Seattle to serve the large number of Indian-Americans living in the northwest territories.

The announcement came shortly after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his visits with U.S. President Barack Obama. “We hope to open a new Indian consulate in Seattle,” Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said.

The consulate expansion will be a joint effort from both India and the U.S.

“Both sides committed to open additional consulates in each other’s country. India will be opening a new consulate in Seattle and the U.S. will open a new location in a mutually agreed upon location in India,” a joint-statement from the two nations read.

India already has U.S. consulate locations in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Houston and Atlanta and an embassy in Washington D.C.

Both countries also announced a series of measures to encourage people-to-people contacts in the joint statement. Both Modi and Obama announced India and the U.S. will be travel and tourism partners for 2017, and committed to the facilitation of visas for each other’s nationals. The U.S. plans to increase the amount of administered visas at its diplomatic missions in India, according to a senior administration official.

While reflecting on the strong educational and cultural bonds between the two countries, Obama welcomed the growing number of Indian students opting to study in the U.S., a figure which has increased by 29 percent annually since 2014. Modi share his optimism of increased opportunities for American students to move abroad to India.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India issued more than 76,000 student visas in the 2015 fiscal year, helping Indian students represent the second-largest group of foreign students in America.

Through the Passport to India program, the U.S. government encourages American students to study abroad in the country. More than one million Americans traveled to India in 2015.

“The announcement that the U.S. and India will be Travel and Tourism Partners in 2017 aims to develop joint efforts and programs to grow these people-to-people and economic linkages.Similarly, the implementation of the Global Entry Program will facilitate travel between the two countries,” the White House said in a statement.