Breakfast Meeting to Welcome Consul General Burgess and New Officers at the U.S. Consulate – 14th September 2017
AMCHAM’s Tamil Nadu Chapter held a breakfast meeting to welcome Consul General Robert Burgess and other new officers at the U.S. Consulate on September 14th, 2017 in Chennai. Mr. Rajan Aiyer, Vice Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM chaired the meeting.
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Rajan Aiyer who welcomed members and the new officers at the consulate. He gave a brief overview of the activities of the Tamil Nadu Chapter and mentioned how the United States Consulate and the FCS has supported AMCHAM in all events and in escalating some of the legacy issues with the state government. He said that AMCHAM members look forward to the relationship with the consulate growing stronger. Mr Rajan Aiyer introduced Consul General Robert Burgess, Consular Chief, Mr. Kent May and Commercial Consul, Mr. James Fluker, to members.
In response, Consul General Robert Burgess, thanked AMCHAM for the welcome and the opportunity to serve in the U.S. mission post in Chennai. He gave an overview of the work done by the American Consulate General in Chennai and how the consulate helps build relationships in the host country. Consul General Burgess said that there are 45 American officers and about 200 Indians working at the consulate across different departments, each of whom is doing a great job. He said his geographical jurisdiction included the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Pondicherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. CG Burgess said that in his previous responsibility as the Director in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C, he had an in-depth knowledge of the issues of the region. During his various assignments in the past, he has worked with AMCHAM and looks forward to working closely with AMCHAM in India. He recalled that his first official briefing outside of the consulate was from AMCHAM.
Consular Chief Kent May said that he is glad to be back in Chennai having served at the post from 1999 -2001 and that he is seeing a vastly different Chennai. He added that his section processes around 1,200 visas each day and that the present online system has greatly reduced the wait times. He assured members that the consular section works to ensure that genuine travelers from the business sector and those travelling for holiday or meeting relatives and friends are able to get their visa without delay, provided they apply well in advance.
Commercial Consul James Fluker, in his remarks, mentioned that this was his second stint in India, the first as a nine year old lad when his father served as a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. He said that he would like to work closely with AMCHAM and this was a good time to be in India, especially with the many opportunities for bilateral across sectors especially defense, agriculture, services, pharmaceuticals etc. The meeting concluded with Mr Rajan Aiyer thanking members for their participation and for the consulate officers taking the time to meet with AMCHAM.