Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said he was “delighted” that US President Donald Trump would attend his “Howdy Modi” mega event in Houston on September 22. He said he looked forward to joining the Indian origin community in welcoming Trump at the event.
The White House has also confirmed that the President will join PM Modi’s 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.”
The Sunday Express first reported that Trump is expected to join PM Modi in at least one of his two engagements in Houston — addressing the NRI community at a stadium and a roundtable meeting with CEOs and top executives of US energy companies.
“The special gesture of President Trump to join us in Houston highlights the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy,” PM Modi tweeted on Monday morning.
A special gesture by @POTUS, signifying the special friendship between India and USA!
Delighted that President @realDonaldTrump will join the community programme in Houston on the 22nd.
Looking forward to joining the Indian origin community in welcoming him at the programme.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 16, 2019
Over 50,000 Indian-Americans have registered for the “Howdy, Modi!” Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” event. The term “Howdy”, short for ‘How do you do?’, is a friendly greeting in southwestern US.
Calling Trump’s participation in the event “historic” and “unprecedented”, Indian Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla told news agency PTI, “It is reflective of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that has developed between India and the US.”
Shringla further said that the two leaders addressing the event sets a bold precedent and that it was reflective of the people-to-people contact which provides the “organic” linkage between the two nations.
Taking a swipe at Modi, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi borrowed the words of British singer Elton John, “performers are all show-offs”, to describe the mega diaspora event.
“I think performers are all show-offs anyway. Unless you show off, you’re not going to get noticed – Elton John,” Singhvi posted on Twitter.
At the All India Congress Committee briefing, senior party leader Rajiv Shukla said it was a good thing that a US President would attend an event of the Indian prime minister. “It is a good thing. Donald Trump’s election is also approaching. There is a big Indian population in the United States,” he said.
PM Modi had requested President Trump to join him when the two met at the G-7 summit, White House officials told PTI. PM Modi was invited as a special guest by French President Emmanuel Macron last month. This would be the third meeting between the two leaders this year, the previous two being on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Japan in June and the G7 Summit in France in July.
In October 2016, Trump had addressed a crowd of 5,000 Indian-Americans in New Jersey a few weeks before he won the Presidential elections in November. Being the only presidential candidate to address Indian-Americans during an election year, Trump had said that if elected, he would be India’s best friend in the White House.
The Houston event will be Modi’s third major address since he became the Prime Minister in 2014 and the first after his re-election in May this year. The earlier two events were held in New York in 2014 and the Silicon Valley in 2016, and were attended by over 20,000 people.