Bhubaneswar, Sep 12 (UNI) United States Consul General in Kolkata, Beth A Payne was very much optimistic that more students from the country would study in India in the next 20 years.
Ms Payne, who was on a visit to the state, to get herself acquainted with the social, economic and cultural aspects of Orissa, told newspersons that currently 83,000 Indian students were studying in the United States, contributing greatly to America's culture, society and economy.
She hoped that in the next 20 years, while the number of Indian students studying in India would cross hundreds of thousand, more students from the United States would also prefer to study in India to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries.
On the increasing demand for visas, the US Consul General said a multi-year plan to rebuild consular facilities to accommodate increasing demand for visas has been nearing completion in Kolkata.
The new project of modernising the visa section, scheduled to open in November would add more interviewing windows and provide an improved experience for the visitors.
Ms Payne said she was delighted to see the state emerging as a major investment destination in the field of mineral wealth, steel industry, tourism and information technology.
She also said on her visit to the United States, she would encourage the businessmen in her country to take advantage of the situation and invest in the potential sectors.
To a question, the US Consul General said she would like a business delegation from the United States to take stock of the good industrial climate in the state.
On the communal violence in Kandhamal, Ms Payne refused to comment saying it was an internal matter. She, however, added, ''We regret any violence against the innocent people anywhere in the world.'' During her stay, the US Consul General had a detailed discussion with Orissa Governor M C Bhandare, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and senior officials of the state.
She also visited the tribal school established by the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology(KIIT), and had an interaction with the faculty members and students of the University.
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