The White House on Sunday said that United States President Donald Trump will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming rally in Houston on September 22, PTI reported.

Modi is scheduled to address the Indian diaspora in Houston at the “Howdy Modi” event, which will be hosted by Houston-based non-profit organisation Texas India Forum. So far, more than 50,000 Indian-Americans have registered for the event.

This will be the first time an American President addresses thousands of Indian-Americans at one place in the US. Several other US politicians are also expected to take part.

Modi said that he was delighted. “A special gesture by @POTUS, signifying the special friendship between India and USA,” the prime minister said in a tweet. “Delighted that President Donald Trump will join the community programme in Houston on the 22nd. Looking forward to joining the Indian origin community in welcoming him at the programme.”

He added that Trump’s gesture highlighted the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said: “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”.

India’s Ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla called Trump’s expected participation “historic” and “unprecedented”. “It is reflective of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that has developed between India and the US,” Shringla told PTI.

The ambassador said it was reflective of the people-to-people contact that provides the “organic” linkage between the two countries, and added that the event would set a bold precedent. “It would be quite a historic meeting with Prime Minister Modi and President Trump jointly addressing over 50,000 Indian-Americans, mainly US citizens,” Shringla said.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, a town in France, Modi had reportedly briefed Trump about his visit and requested him to attend the event. Unidentified White House officials told the news agency that Trump “immediately accepted” the invitation to join him in Houston and directed his officials and secret service to prepare for the same.

This would be the third meeting between the two leaders this year, and will be Modi’s third major address to the Indian-American community after he became the prime minister in 2014. The previous events were at the Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014 and the Silicon Valley in 2016. Both of them were attended by more than 20,000 people.

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