Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the United States on Saturday for a week-long visit. He reached Houston first, where he is expected to address more than 50,000 Indian-Americans at the “Howdy Modi” rally tonight. President Donald Trump will join him for the much anticipated event.
Modi was welcomed at the airport by India’s Ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla and by his American counterpart Ken Juster.
“Howdy Houston,” the prime minister said in a tweet after landing. “It’s a bright afternoon here in Houston. Looking forward to a wide range of programmes in this dynamic and energetic city today and tomorrow.”
Modi met chief executive officers from the energy sector later in the day. “Further energising India-USA friendship,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet. “Among the first engagements of PM @narendramodi in Houston is a meeting with CEOs from the energy sector. India and USA are looking to diversify cooperation in this sector.”
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the meeting focused on working together for energy security and expanding mutual investment opportunities.
The “Howdy Modi” event, where Modi is expected to speak after 10 am local time (8.30 pm Indian time) is hosted by Houston-based non-profit organisation Texas India Forum and will take place at NRG stadium. This will be the first time an American president addresses thousands of Indian-Americans at one place in the US. Several other local politicians are also expected to participate in the event.
Meanwhile, Trump and Modi are likely to sign a trade deal at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York City, Reuters reported. Unidentified people told the news agency that the proposed deal with India would lower some tariffs on US products and restore preferential treatment for some Indian exports to the United States.
At the G7 summit in France in August, Modi had reportedly briefed Trump about his visit to the US and requested him to attend the event. Trump reportedly “immediately accepted” the invitation to join him in Houston and directed his officials and secret service to prepare for the same.
This will be the third meeting between the two leaders this year, and 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 each.
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