For the first time in recent history, two leaders of the largest democracies in the world would be addressing a joint rally. This is after U.S President Donald Trump ended speculation around whether he would make a joint appearance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the September 22 “Howdy, Modi!” diaspora event in Houston. The U.S President is also going to address the rally that is expected to be in the “tens of thousands” as per reports from the White House Press Secretary.
In a statement, the White House Press Secretary 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 oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship. A statement from Sunday’s event organizers, Texas India Forum, said the event was going to bring together the President of the world’s most influential democracy, the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, and a bipartisan delegation of governors, Members of Congress, Mayors and other public officials.
This joint appearance comes at a very crucial time for US-India ties. Just recently, a number of U.S lawmakers, nearly all Democrats, raised concerns around India’s obligation of Article 370- special status for Kashmir. Furthermore, the two countries are also facingissues in their trading relationship. With the U.S elections just around the corner in 2020, Mr. Modi’s presence would also go a long way in helping Mr. Trump with the Indian-American vote.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Ambassador to the U.S said Mr. Trump’s participation in the event is a true reflection of both the strength of ties between the two countries together with the personal chemistry between the Prime Minister and the President. “The two leaders addressing the ‘Howdy Modi’ event is historic and unprecedented. It reflects not only the closeness and comfort levels in the relationship but also the personal chemistry and friendship between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump.” Mr. Shringla said. Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader, the second ranking member of the Democratic leadership in the House will also address the gathering.
As per reports from the Houston Chronicles, some Sikhs and Kashmiri Muslims had planned a “dress rehearsal” protest in Houston on Saturday. Apparently, The Indian America Muslim Council, an advocacy for Indian Muslims in the United States, had sent out an electronic notice and poster, asking people to join the Houston protests against the government’s Article 370 action and subsequent restrictions in Kashmir, the NRC issues in Assam. The planned Houston protest is also against the treatment of minorities in India.
Over 50,000 people have already registered for the event, which will be held at the Houston’s NRG stadium. The wire first reported Mr. Trump’s possible attendance on Saturday. They also said an announcement on the India-US trade package might be made during the Houston event.