Trump to join Modi in Houston to address 50,000 Indian-Americans, says White House

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

September 16, 2019 04:37 am | Updated 05:53 pm IST - Washington DC

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets U.S. President Donald Trump. File photo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets U.S. President Donald Trump. File photo.

Ending speculation of a joint appearance with Prime Minister Modi, U.S. President Donald Trump’s participation in the September 22  ‘Howdy, Modi!’ diaspora event in Houston has been confirmed. The President will also address the gathering – expected to be in the “tens of thousands” as per the White House Press Secretary.

“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,” a statement from the Press Secretary said.

Over 50,000 people have registered for the event,  which will be held at Houston’s NRG stadium. Mr. Trump’s possible attendance was first reported by  The Wire  on Saturday – which also said an announcement on the India-US trade package (reports of which were carried by the media earlier) may be made during the Houston event.

“This unique event brings together the President of the world’s most influential democracy, the Prime Minster of the world’s largest democracy, and a bipartisan delegation of governors, Members of Congress, Mayors, and other public officials,” a statement from Texas India Forum, organizers of Sunday’s event.

The joint appearance has been scheduled at a crucial time for US-India ties. A number of U.S. lawmakers, almost all of them Democrats, have raised concerns around India’s abrogation of Article 370 (special status for Kashmir) in early August. The two countries are also attempting to resolve challenges in their trading relationship. With the U.S. Presidential elections looming in 2020, Mr Modi’s presence could also help Mr Trump with the Indian-American vote.

Strength of ties and personal chemistry: Indian Ambassador

India’s Ambassador to the U.S., Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Mr. Trump’s participation reflects both the strength of the ties between the two countries as well as the personal chemistry between the Prime Minister and the President.

“The two leaders addressing the ‘Howdy Modi’ event is historic and unprecedented. It reflects not only the closeness and comfort levels in the relationship but also the personal chemistry and friendship between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump,” Mr Shringla said. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking member of the Democratic leadership in the House, will also address the gathering, the Ambassador said.

Protests Planned

Protests have also been planned for Sunday in Houston. Some Sikhs and Kashmiri Muslims had organized a “dress rehearsal” protest in Houston on Saturday, The Houston Chronical reported. The Indian American Muslim Council, an advocacy group for Indian Muslims in the U.S., sent out an electronic notice and poster, asking people to join the Houston (and New York) protests against the government’s Artcile 370 action and subsequent restrictions in Kashmir, the NRC issue in Assam , as well as the treatment of minorities in India.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.