The stage is all set for the mega "Howdy Modi" event where US President Donald Trump will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will address over 50,000 Indian-Americans. The volunteers of the "Howdy Modi" event working round the clock and confident that all the attendees at the sprawling NRG stadium in Houston will have an experience they will cherish all their lives.
Leading volunteer Achalesh Amar told PTI that over 1,500 volunteers have been working round the clock to make the event a grand success. "We are going to have a fantastic programme on Sunday", he said.
The Howdy Modi event — with a tagline “Shared Dreams, Bright Futures — will begin at 10 am local time and 8.30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST). The programme will be telecast live on News Nation channel. Select moments from the Prime Minister's address will also be shared on News Nation's official Twitter handle.
PM Narendra Modi's Youtube channel is also likely to telecast the event live — as has been done on previous instances — no official announcement in this regard has yet been made.
The mammoth event reflects the growing size, power and complexity of the Indian-American community, both in the Houston area and the US, he said. US President Trump, along with a number of high-ranking US government officials - including Governors, Members of Congress and Mayors - will join Prime Minister Modi to attend the "Howdy Modi!" event on Sunday.
"This is going to be a kind of family celebration. We want to say, ''Look at our community here! We are successful. We are strong. We have done good things for Houston!'' We would like Modi to know all of this," organizers said.
Swapan Dhairyawan, president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), said he has witnessed how Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner''s visit to India in November 2018 enhanced the bilateral trade.
Dhairyawan said he was confident that Modi''s visit to Houston and his meeting with President Trump and top CEOs will "make new inroads in furthering business opportunities in oil and gas, healthcare and Innovation? Houston''s three core sectors".
"We need a non-stop flight from Houston to New Delhi. Modi announced a direct flight from San Francisco to New Delhi during his 2015 speech in Silicon Valley, chamber members hope the same happens at Houston," he said.
Jagdip Ahluwalia, founding Secretary and Executive Director of the IACCGH, said President Trump attending the event was a sign of the "growing importance of the US-India relationship". "From 2018 to May 2019, India moved from being Houston''s 9th largest trading partner to its 4th largest trading partner preceded only by Mexico, China and Brazil", he said.
According to the US Census Bureau Foreign Trade Division, the trade between Houston and India is up 82.2 per cent, with Houston exports to India up 106.5 per cent and India''s exports to Houston up by 48.8 per cent.
"Modi''s last visit to Washington and meeting with Trump led to a multibillion dollar deal by India to buy US crude oil, which was multi billion dollar deal by India to buy US LNG, a lot of which will ship from our region and we are positive Modi''s visit to the home of the energy hub, NASA will lead to a new series of bilateral opportunities between our region which IACCGH is here to help facilitate and support," Ahluwalia added.
Before Prime Minister Modi will deliver the community address, he is scheduled to have a round table meeting with various energy-related top business leaders. There are also some community-related brief meetings involved during his short trip to Houston, which includes meeting Kashmiri Pandits settled in the US.
Jugal Malani, chairperson of the Texas India Forum, said "Our community loves Prime Minister Modi and the multi-million-dollar event is fully funded through resources raised within the community. The mega cultural show will highlight Indian heritage and we have performers from all across America joining in".
Meanwhile, some protests by the International Humanitarian Foundation of Houston are also being planned against Modi''s visit and some pro-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir billboards have also appeared at some places in the city.
According to sources, over 10,000 people will protest the Indian government''s August 5 decision to end Jammu and Kashmir''s special status. However, the Governor''s Office, city officials along with a huge pool of volunteers, is working towards the grand success of the event.