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'Howdy, Modi': We are going to have good time, says Trump before leaving for Houston

PTI Houston | Updated on September 23, 2019 Published on September 22, 2019

File Photo of US President Donald Trump.   -  Reuters

Looking forward to address ‘Howdy, Modi’ rally in Houston, US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he and his “friend” Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have a “good time” at the mega event.

“Will be in Houston to be with my friend. Will be a great day in Texas!” Trump tweeted.

Responding to Trump’s tweet, Modi said he was looking forward to meeting the US leader in Houston.

“It surely will be a great day! Looking forward to meeting you very soon @realDonaldTrump,” Modi tweeted.

“We’ll be going to Houston and we’ll be at a very nice big stadium packed full of people with Prime Minister Modi,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawns of the White House before he left for Houston, where he and Modi would address over 50,000 Indian-Americans at the NRG Stadium.

“He (Modi) asked if I would go with him and I’ve accepted and We’re going to have a good time,” Trump said minutes before he boarded Marine One from the White House lawns. “I hear it’s a tremendous crowd,” he added.

Read more: Indian-Americans believe ‘Howdy, Modi’ would take India-US ties to new level

Organised by the non-profit Texas India Forum, the event, with the tagline ‘Shared Dreams, Bright Futures’, will shine light on the tremendous contribution of Indo-Americans in United States and the strong and lasting partnership between the US and India.

The cultural programme preceding Prime Minister Modi’s address, showcasing Indian-American artists from Texas and elsewhere, will portray how the community is woven into the larger tapestry of American life. It will involve broad-based community participation across the United States.

The 90-minute music, dance, and multimedia show features close to 400 artists and community members from Texas and across the nation. There are 27 groups performing in a live and multimedia experience that will showcase the diversity in the Indian-American community, organisers said.

“A challenge that many second and third generation Indian-Americans go through is navigating the complexity of having a hyphenated identity as an Indian and an American. Woven showcases the multiplicity of Indian-American experience. Our hope is that each person sees themselves in at least one form of expression and recognises that whatever mix of Indian and American they are, it is just right,” said Heena Patel, CEO of MELA Arts Connect and co-producer of the program.

The show will also shine a light on unsung heroes in the Indian-American community who have undertaken selfless acts benefiting the broader American community without any need of recognition.

US President Trump likely to deliver 30-minute-long, major speech on India

US President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a major, 30-minute speech on India and Indian Americans at the “Howdy, Modi!” event here in the world’s energy capital on Sunday, which US officials asserted would bring fresh energy in the long-lasting relationship between the two democracies.

Contrary to what was reported earlier, Trump, the 45th president of the United States, is no longer making a guest appearance or making a notional brief remark at the diaspora event.

Trump, who as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 promised to be India’s best friend, is flying to Houston only to attend the “Howdy, Modi!” event.

As per the schedule released by the White House on late Saturday night, Trump will spend 100 minutes at the NRG Stadium.

While the duration of his speech is not yet known, it is believed his remarks could last as long as 30 minutes.

He is also expected to be present in the audience during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address.

More than 50,000 Indian-Americans from across the country have registered for the “Howdy, Modi!” event, the largest-ever gathering of this minority but affluent ethnic community in the US.

“By coming to Houston and attending the “Howdy, Modi!” event, he (Trump) has won the hearts of Indian-Americans. He will earn more votes from Indian Americans in the 2020 presidential elections,” eminent Indian-American community leader from Indiana Bharat Barai told PTI in an interview.

Barai, a close friend of the Indian prime minister, had organised Modi’s historic Madison Square Garden event in New York in 2014.

“Leaders of the two largest democracies in the world addressing more than 50,000 people from one platform is historic. This will further cement India-US relationship,” Barai said.

“It will be a great opportunity to emphasise 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,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham had said last week.

From Houston, Trump will travel to Wapakoneta in Ohio, where he will be joined by Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison for a tour of a new Australian-owned manufacturing facility.

From Ohio, Trump will fly to New York to attend the annual session of the UN General Assembly.

On Monday he is scheduled to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. A day later, Trump would hold a formal bilateral dialogue with Modi in New York.

Published on September 22, 2019
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