Trump to attend Howdy, Modi!, PM says sign of special friendship

Trump to attend Howdy, Modi!, PM says sign of special friendship

US President Donald Trump will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi at “Howdy, Modi!”, the Indian community event in Houston on September 22.

Confirming Trump’s participation, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, in a statement, said: “It will be a great opportunity to emphasise the strong ties between the people of the US 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 Indian Express had reported on Sunday that Trump may join Modi for the event.

Modi said he looked forward to joining the Indian-origin community in welcoming Trump at the programme. “A special gesture by @POTUS, signifying the special friendship between India and USA… highlights the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy,” he tweeted.

More than 50,000 Indian-Americans from across the US have registered for the “Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” event to be held at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

The event is being organised by non-profit Texas India Forum (TIF), a representative body of Indian-American organisations in Texas and other parts of the US.

While Modi’s event at the Wembley stadium in UK in November 2015 was attended by then British Prime Minister David Cameron, this will be the first time that an American President addresses thousands of Indian-Americans at one place in the US. It comes ahead of the 2020 US presidential elections, in which the influential Indian-American community is expected to play a big role. Trump, a Republican, has already announced his candidature.

This will be the third meeting between Modi and Trump this year. The previous two were on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Japan in June and the G7 Summit in France in July.

Modi is likely to leave for the US on September 21 — he will first travel to Houston and then to New York from September 23 to 27.