US President Donald Trump will attend “Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” mega diaspora event in Houston to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22, the White House said on Sunday. The event is expected to be gathering of 50,000 people. “Howdy”, short for ‘How do you do?’, is a friendly greeting commonly used in southwestern United States.
This is for the first time in recent history that the leaders of the two largest democracies would be addressing a joint rally anywhere in the world.
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”. “This is unprecedented and historic and is reflective of the close ties of friendship and cooperation between India and the US,” the ambassador said.
White House officials told news agency PTI that a request was made by Prime Minister Modi to President Trump when the two met in France last month on the sidelines of the G-7 summit.
This would be the third meeting between the two leaders this year. The previous two were on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in June in Japan and in France in July on the sidelines of the G7 Summit.
60 prominent US lawmakers, including first American Hindu Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi are also likely to attend the event
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.