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Special gesture: PM Modi on Donald Trump joining him at ‘Howdy, Modi’ event

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the “special gesture” of US President Donald Trump to join him during mega diaspora event–Howdy Modi!–in Houston, Texas, on September 22, signifies special friendship between the two countries.

In a series of tweets, Modi said he looks forward to joining the Indian origin community in welcoming Trump at the programme.

On Sunday, the White House confirmed that Trump would share a stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the community programme in Houston.

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

“Howdy”, short for ‘How do you do?’, is a friendly greeting commonly used in southwestern United States.

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.”

Indian ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla called Trump’s participation in the “Howdy, Modi!” event “historic” and “unprecedented”.

“It is reflective of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that has developed between India and the US,” Shringla told PTI.

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

According to sources, the stage could be used to announce a trade deal between India and US, ending months of bitterness over tariffs.

Jiten Agrawal, CEO of Expedien told PTI that Houston was a primary choice due to the fact that trade between Texas and India had been increasing multifold.

Houston being the energy capital of the world, was an excellent partner for India’s growth.

“India is going to be a USD 5 trillion economy in the next few years and needs significant collaboration in healthcare and Texas medical centre being one of the best in country ushers in another partnership between India and Texas on medical research and new treatments,” Agrawal had said.

Heads of companies like Lyondell Basil, Schlumeberger, McDermott, C level executives from Exxon, Shell and other similar firms including Walmart would also attend the event, he said.

Trump’s presence at the ‘Howdy Modi’ event would send a strong message of support to PM Modi, at a time when American lawmakers have expressed “grave concern” over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Over 50,000 Indian Americans are likely to attend the event. With America going to poll next year, Trump might use the platform to address these potential voters.

The Houston event 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.

The mega event billed as ‘Howdy Modi’ had attracted great enthusiastic participation from Indian-American community.

Organisers have closed the registration, once it crossed 50,000. From Houston, Modi will fly to New York to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

(With inputs from Asian Age)

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