Representatives of Sindhi, Baloch, and Pashto groups on Sunday gathered in Houston ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Howdy Modi” rally to draw his attention to alleged human rights abuses by Pakistan in their native regions, PTI reported. Around 50,000 Indian-Americans have registered to attend the event. United States President Donald Trump will also join Modi for the event.
The United States representative of the Baloch National Movement Nabi Baksha Baloch said they will request both Modi and Trump to support their cause. “We demand freedom from Pakistan,” Baloch told the news agency. “India and the US should help us in the same way as India had helped the people of Bangladesh in 1971.”
More than 100 Sindhi-Americans gathered outside the NRG stadium. Zafar Sahito from the Jeay Sindh Mutahida Muhaz group said the rally was a historic one by the leaders of the largest and oldest democracies. “We the people of Sindh want freedom from Pakistan,” Sahito told PTI. “Just like India supported for the freedom of Bangladesh in 1971, we want a separate nation for the people of Sindh. Pakistan is a theocratic country.”
Modi meets energy sector CEOs
Earlier, Modi met chief executive officers from the energy sector and discussed how to harness opportunities in the area to address India’s needs. This was his first engagement after his arrival in Houston.
“It is impossible to come to Houston and not talk energy,” Modi said in a tweet after the meeting. “Had a wonderful interaction with leading energy sector CEOs. We discussed methods to harness opportunities in the energy sector. Also witnessed the signing of MoU between Tellurian and Petronet LNG.”
The CEOs of 17 global energy companies took part in the round-table discussion. The companies included Air Products, Baker Hughes, BP PLC, Cheniere Energy, Dominion Energy, Emerson Electric Company, Exxonmobil, Perot Group and Hillwood, IHS Markit, Lyondellbasell Industries, Mcdermott, Schlumberger, Tellurian Inc, Total S.A, Vinmar International and Westlake Chemicals.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the companies had a combined net worth of $1 trillion with a presence in 150 countries.
Indian liquefied natural gas importer Petronet decided to invest $2.5 billion in American company Tellurian Inc during the meeting. The agreement will give India access to upto five million metric tons of LNG per year over 40 years.
Indian officials said the meeting with the CEOs was fruitful. They said the main objectives of the meeting was to get their perspective on various aspects of India’s energy sector ranging from environment to technology, investment and energy independence.
Trump likely to address Indian-Americans for 30 minutes
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. This will be also 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.
Trump is expected to deliver a 30-minute speech on India and Indian Americans at the event, PTI reported. He will not make a guest appearance at the event or just a brief notional remark.
According to the White House schedule for the event, Trump will spend 100 minutes at the NRG stadium. The duration of his speech is not mentioned, but it can reportedly last as long as 30 minutes.
“By coming to Houston and attending the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event, he [Trump] has won the hearts of Indian-Americans,” community leader Bharat Barai told the news agency. “He will earn more votes from Indian Americans in the 2020 presidential elections,” he added.
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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