Interview with Consul General Nagesh Singh
“When you sit under your flag, the high in which it gives, no nine or ten digit salary can give you that.”
On March 8, 2017, I had the pleasure of interviewing Consul General Nagesh Singh of India. Within the first five minutes of the interview, it was apparent that Mr. Singh was in love with his job as Consul General because he was in love with his country. As Consul General, he represents India, and its 1.3 billion population, in the Southeastern region of the United States.
Mr. Singh arrived in Atlanta in July 2015, but he has worked for the Indian Foreign Service since 1995. Other than Atlanta, he has been stationed in places around the world including Paris, Dakar (Senegal), New Delhi, and New York. While at university, his interest in traveling led to his career in the Foreign Service, a career interest sealed by his last backpacking trip through Turkey, Israel, and Egypt. The main reason for this was because he enjoyed experiencing the vast cultural diversity as well as the intersection of ancient and modern day aspects of these three countries. On the other hand, his father worked for the Indian government as the Federal Secretary for Urban Development, Energy, and Agriculture. “Every kid looks up to his father and the work that he does,” explained Singh.
Consul General Singh values the work that we do at the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. Upon arriving to Atlanta, he was encouraged to meet Ambassador Charles Shapiro in order to project India in a better light. He quickly realized that a partnership with the Council would provide the best platform for sending his message to encourage and acknowledge the opportunities and prospects of a partnership between India and the Southeastern United States. As he mentioned, there are over 50 Indian companies in the Atlanta area as well as more than 120,000 Indian expats or people of Indian decent.
During a significant part of my interview, Consul General Singh and I discussed the relationship between India and the United States and why it is important for our region. This conversation was crucial to my understanding the symbiotic relationship between the Council and the Consulate General of India. Informing, educating, and stimulating the interest of global issues in the minds of all Atlantans, from students to business men and women, is the mission of the World Affairs Council. Including India in these discussions is essential. Over the last two decades, the relationship between our two countries has drastically changed. During the Cold War, India was more closely allied with the USSR. The Indian economy then took off in the 1990’s. Today, our shared ideologies of democracy, rule of law, tolerance, pluralism, and our countries multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic societies gives the United States and India a unique relationship. There is a convergence between the United States and India on virtually every issue. Militarily, India and the United States carry out more bilateral military operations than the United States does with any other single country.
I concluded our interview with a few informal and personal questions. In his spare time, Singh enjoys hiking, reading, and watching cricket. He continues to enjoy traveling, with his favorite places to visit being France, Turkey, and Vietnam. He loves France for many reasons including that he spent four years there, making it feel like a second home. He finds the cultures of Turkey and Vietnam mesmerizing. Yet, “In the U.S., one feels at home.” This is the reason he also loves the United States. The small creature comforts such as being able to buy Indian spices at Indian grocery stores makes the United States more homely as well as his feeling that “Americans, by and large, are kind-hearted.”