Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic presidential candidate and the first Hindu member of the US Congress, extended a warm welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be in the United States for the “Howdy, Modi!” event in Texas’ Houston.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address Indian-Americans at the event on September 22.

The first Indian-origin woman candidate for US presidential elections, Gabbard, however, apologised for not being able to attend the event due to her prior commitments.

“Namaste! I would like to extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Modi on his latest visit to the US and I am sorry that I will not be able to join there in person due to previously scheduled presidential campaign events. I am really glad to see so many Indian Americans from all across our country as well as colleagues from Congress coming together there,” she said in a video message.

Terming India as US’ one of the most important partners in the Asia-Pacific region, she said, “India is the world’s largest democracy and one of the most important partners of US in the Asia-Pacific region”.

Earlier in a tweet, Gabbard had informed that though she will not be able to attend the event but hopes to meet Prime Minister Modi during his US visit.

Referring to an article, she tweeted, “This article is misinformed. I’m not attending the Houston event due to previously scheduled presidential campaign events. However, I”m hoping to meet PM Modi on his visit to discuss the importance of maintaining the strong partnership of the world’s oldest & largest democracies.”

Meanwhile, the White House has confirmed that US President Donald Trump will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Houston’s mega “Howdy, Modi!” event.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “It (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.”

Following the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “delighted that US President Donald Trump will join him at the community programme in Houston”.

PM Modi said the “special gesture” of President Donald Trump to join the mega event in Houston highlights the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy”.

This would also be the first time that an American president would be addressing thousands of Indian-Americans at one place in the US.

More than 50,000 Indian-Americans from across the US have registered for the September 22 mega “Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” event to be held at the sprawling NRG Stadium in Houston.

This would be the third meeting between the two leaders this year, the previous two being in Japan in June on the sidelines of the G20 Summit and the other one in August in France.