U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Michael Pelletier visits Bihar

PATNA – During his first visit to Bihar on June 15 – 17th, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Michael Pelletier highlighted several key elements of the U.S.-India strategic relationship, including our economic partnership, development cooperation, and educational opportunities.  He was accompanied by the U.S. Consul General Kolkata, Helen LaFave.

On his visit to one of the projects supported by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) in Bihar, he underscored that the U.S.-India partnership is based on the joint commitment to improve agriculture productivity and climate resilience, and increase farm profits.  He also commented on how the success of CSISA is a great example of the United States and India working side-by-side and making a positive difference in more than 300,000 people’s lives in India.  He met with state government officials, scientists, agricultural extension staff, and farmers at the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) – Research Center for the Eastern Region, which serves as a demonstration site showcasing new technologies and farm management practices for farmers in Bihar.

Chargé d’Affaires Pelletier also inaugurated a program on “The Importance of Cold Chain for the Food Processing Industry,” hosted by the Indian Chamber of Commerce under the auspices of the American Business Corner – Patna. The program focused on American companies’ cold chain expertise and featured American firms that could supply to Indian firms working on state and central food initiatives.

As part of his educational outreach, Chargé d’Affaires Pelletier met with a group of vice chancellors and pro-vice chancellors from universities across Bihar.  These educators will travel to the United States later this week to attend the Academic Leadership Academy at Pennsylvania State University.  This program is the result of the U.S-India Strategic Dialogue on Education in collaboration with the World Bank, Rutgers University and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.  The goal is to improve the standards in state universities and review best practices in U.S. higher education.  At a separate meeting, he met with college administrators to understand how they were implementing the U.S. modeled Community College Initiative in Bihar to foster skill development.

During a visit to Patna University, Chargé d’Affaires Pelletier addressed students on key elements in re-imagining the U.S-India relationship followed by a lively question and answer session.  Commenting on the potential of our strategic partnership, his emphasized that “our partnership has never been so wide or deep as it is today, and we must challenge our governments to reach the full potential of this partnership, particularly in the areas of bilateral trade and investment, security cooperation, energy and environment, higher education, and global architecture.”

A highlight of his trip was a visit to the remarkable “Super 30” program, where he met with its founder Anand Kumar and his students.  He commended this path-breaking program for successfully meeting the aspirations of these young people to achieve their dreams through education.  Speaking with the students, he underscored his belief that “young people around the world have the potential to drive economic and social progress in their own communities and so it is vital to incorporate youth voices into critical debates that help shape global affairs.”

Chargé d’Affaires Pelletier also met with a group of civil society leaders who are alumni of U.S. State Department-funded leadership programs.