The White House on Sunday said US President Donald Trump’s scheduled meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event in Texas “will be a great opportunity to emphasize the strong ties between the world’s oldest and largest democracies”.
Over 50,000 Indian-Americans will attend the sold-out event at Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22 that’s billed by the organisers as the largest-ever turnout for a foreign elected leader on US soil. The Indian-Americans are also potential voters for President Trump, who fights a re-election next year.
“In Houston, President Trump will participate in an event with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India… It 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 White House said in a statement.
The US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and second-highest Democrat and representative of Maryland, will address the “Howdy, Modi” event in Houston. A delegation of Governors, members of the Congress, mayors and other public officials, including the first American-Hindu Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, are among the leaders who will attend the mega event.
A much anticipated trade deal could be announced, ending months of bitterness over tariffs. The US in June ended India’s designation as a beneficiary nation under a key preferential trade programme that was designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from beneficiary countries.
A report by Bloomberg said there is speculation in Texas, the US energy capital, of India further tapping into America’s shale gas supply. China hasn’t imported any American supply since February and India is open to making purchases, and the nation is already the sixth-largest buyer of US liquefied natural gas.
PM Modi will be in the US till September 28, primarily for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he will make a speech on the 27th – just ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
At the moment, Mr Khan is scheduled to speak shortly after PM Modi at the UNGA, where he is expected to focus mostly on Jammu and Kashmir following the withdrawal of special status and statehood by the centre.
Sources said PM Modi will also meet with top American CEOs during his visit. PM Modi and Mr Trump last met at the G7 Summit in France on August 26, where the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and trade were high on the agenda.
Mr Trump had described the situation in Kashmir as “explosive” and offered to mediate between India and Pakistan if asked. Washington has traditionally maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. But since July, Mr Trump has offered his assistance more than once.