New Delhi :
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday arrived in Houston, as he began his week-long visit to the United States during which will attend the mega ‘Howdy, Modi’ event on Sunday, to be attended by 50,000 audience, the largest gathering ever for an elected foreign leader visiting the US, other than the Pope.
According to his itinerary for Saturday, Prime Minister Modi will head straight for a roundtable meeting with oil sector CEOs, and later for a brief interaction with the Indian diaspora and photo op with them.
On Sunday, he will attend the mega 'Howdy Modi' event that will see a 50,000 crowd of Indian diaspora gather. The event will also be attended by President Trump in a rare gesture. The two leaders will also address the UN General Assembly in New York on September 27.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Harsh V Shringla along with his team previewed the event at NRG Stadium, where preparations are in full swing and over 1,500 volunteers are working round the clock to make it a memorable event.
A car rally was organised on Friday at the NRG stadium, where more than 200 cars participated, fluttering flags of both India and the US to signify the friendship between the the two countries.
The organisers and volunteers sporting ‘NAMO AGAIN’ shirts, chanted “NaMo Again” and said they are ready to welcome Prime Minister Modi “wholeheartedly”.
At a press briefing on Friday, Texas India Forum (TIF) spokespersons Priti Dawra, Gitesh Desai and Rishi Bhutada briefed media about the event timeline, what to expect and why Houston was chosen for such a mega community event.
“The event is a grand celebration of culture and unity of America and India, where attendees will hear Modi speak about the deepening US-India ties strengthened by the confirmations of over 3 million Indian Americans in the US and will lay out his vision of the continuous India’s growth and development as he begins his second term following his historic re-election,” Dawra said.
“First time the leaders of the world’s two biggest democracies are appearing together at such an event to share their resolve to build strong partnership,” she said.
They will showcase the growing US-India geopolitical partnership, commitment to global peace and prosperity through entrepreneurship, hard work and sacrifice of the people of both nations. The presence of these two leaders is also a sign of the positive growing influence of Indo Americans and their invaluable contributions to Texas and United States, the spokespersons said.
Dawra said President Trump’s participation in the event shows that he is highlighting his “goodwill and friendship” towards the Indian Prime Minister, the people of India and the Indian American diaspora.
A bipartisan group of senior elected officials, leaders from the US government including, senators, governors, mayors will also attend the event.
“The ‘Howdy, Modi’ is about the unity of culture and it will bring the entire US India and Texas closer than ever, TIF is deeply grateful or this opportunity to bring together such a historic event driven in large part by the diverse community of Americans all over the united states,” Dawra said.
Texas accounts for 10 per cent of India-US trade, about USD 7 billion worth of US goods and commodities are moved between Texas and India.
Some of the largest companies are setting up their headquarters all over Texas, creating jobs and opportunities for Americans and Indian Americans.
“India is Houston’s fourth largest trading partner today just behind Brazil China and Mexico. It attracts largest influx of Indian population and investment. Houston is uniquely positioned towards this community summit as it is the energy, space and the medical centre capital of the world,” she said.
‘Howdy, Modi’ is the community summit organised by the contributions of over 600 organisations 1,000 volunteers and attendees representing all the 50 states of the US,
“Indian Americans are not just most educated and affluent community in the US, but it is also now recognised for serving across all fields including military medicine and education; highly respected doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, empowering the US economy,” she said.
The spirit and diversity of the Indian community will be showcased by the specially curated cultural programme “WOVEN” at the start of the event, featuring 400 artists, she said.
The NRG gates will open at 6 AM to accommodate and seat 50,000 people by 9 AM, after which cultural programme will begin and continue till 10:30 am, and will be broadcast live in Hindi, English and Spanish languages followed by the address of the two leaders. The event will end by 12:30 PM, after which Modi will join a private community reception before heading to New York for the UN General Assembly session and other engagements.