US President Donald Trump’s decision to attend “Howdy, Modi!” event in Texas’ Houston has been termed as “historic” and “unprecedented” by Indian ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address Indian-Americans at the event on September 22.
“It is reflective of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that has developed between India and the US,” Harsh Vardhan Shringla told PTI on Trump’s participation in the event.
White House officials told PTI that a request was made by Prime Minister Modi to President Trump when the two met in France last month on the sidelines of the G-7 summit.
Trump, who enjoys great chemistry and friendship with Modi, “immediately accepted” the invitation to join him in Houston and directed his officials and secret service, officials said.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the Modi-Trump joint rally will be a great opportunity to emphasize the strong ties between the people of the United States and India, to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship.
More than 50,000 Indian-Americans from across the US have registered for the mega “Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” event to be held at the sprawling NRG Stadium in Houston.
The live audience will be the largest ever for an Indian Prime Minister in North America and also the largest for a foreign leader in the US other than Pope Francis.
Following the Houston event, PM Modi will attend the United Nations General Assembly on September 27.
The summit, with the tagline of ‘Shared Dreams, Bright Futures’ will highlight the contributions of Indian-Americans to enrich the American life as well as the key role it has played in strengthening relations between the two nations.
“On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Indian-Americans in Texas, and as co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, I welcome Prime Minister Modi to Houston,” said US Senator John Cornyn.
Houston, which has one of the largest concentration of over 5,00,000 Indian-American community in the US, is the energy capital of the world. Energy security is a priority area for the prime minister.
“India continues to be key security and economic partner of the United States, and I look forward to seeing that relationship strengthen with his visit to Texas,” Cornyn said.
In 2019 to date, India is Houston’s fourth-largest trading partner, just behind Brazil, China and Mexico. From 2009 to 2018, trade between Houston and India averaged USD 4.8 billion annually and was valued at USD 7.2 billion in 2018.
The audience will have the chance to hear Modi’s vision for India and the US-India partnership. The address will have a simultaneous English translation available via smartphone, the organisers said.
It will be broadcast live online and on television channels reaching over 1 billion people across the US and India.
This will be Modi’s third major address to the Indian-American community after he became the prime minister in 2014 and the first after his re-election in May.
The previous two were at the Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014 and the Silicon Valley in 2016. Both the events were attended by more than 20,000 people.