Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

Howdy Modi!: Donald Trump to attend Texas event with Indian PM

The event is expected to attract more than 50,000 people

US president Donald Trump with India's prime minister Narendra Modi in Washington. EPA
US president Donald Trump with India's prime minister Narendra Modi in Washington. EPA

Donald Trump and Narendra Modi will attend a large event in Houston, Texas, later this month – the first time a US president and Indian prime minister have addressed a rally together.

More than 50,00 Indian-Americans have registered for the "Howdy, Modi!" event planned for September 22, officials from Mr Modi’s party, the BJP, said.

The Indian prime minister invited Mr Trump to the event during the G7 talks in France last month. The US president’s attendance was confirmed on Sunday.

Mr Trump’s press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the event would be “a great opportunity to emphasise 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”.

The event shows "the personal chemistry and friendship" between Mr Trump and Mr Modi, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the Indian ambassador to the United States, told AFP.

"These are two leaders who are used to thinking outside of the box," he said, describing the joint appearance as "unconventional and unique".

"The event will also reflect the strong bipartisan support there has been for US-India relations," he said, describing Indian-Americans as an "organic bridge" between the world's two largest democracies.

More than three million people of Indian descent live in the US

Mr Modi tweeted his delight at the news on Monday, saying the event signified “the special friendship between India and USA”.

The rally indicates that the two countries have turned the page on an incident in July when Mr Trump baffled India by saying, in a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, that Mr Modi had sought mediation on Kashmir.

India has for decades rejected any outside role in Kashmir. Last month, India revoked Kashmir's autonomous status and blocked communications in much of the Muslim-majority region.

India's actions drew criticism from the UN human rights chief and rights groups, with Pakistan urging pressure against New Delhi, although Mr Trump has voiced support for Mr Modi's actions.

Updated: September 16, 2019 11:23 AM

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