'Howdy, Modi! will be held at the sprawling NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019.
The city of Houston in Texas, United States is gearing up to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the mega-event, Howdy, Modi!
The Texas India Forum (TIF), with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers is organising a community summit for the Prime Minister. It also confirmed that over 650 community organisations have signed up to be 'welcome partners' for the program.
More than 50,000 Indian-American attendees from across the US have registered for the event. The event is all sold out. It is also mentioned that the live audience will be the largest gathering for an invited foreign leader visiting the country, apart from the Pope.
Howdy, Modi! will be held at the sprawling NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. The summit, with the tagline of 'Shared Dreams, Bright Futures' will highlight the contributions of Indian-Americans to enrich the American life as well as the key role played in strengthening relations between the two nations.
The word 'Howdy' is the short slang for 'How do you do?' which is a friendly greeting commonly used in the southwestern United States.
So what is the event schedule like?
US President Donald Trump will drop in at the 'Howdy, Modi!' mega diaspora event. PM Modi took to twitter and said that Trump's "special gesture" to join the Indian community programme signifies special friendship between the two countries.
The event will include a cultural program and an address by PM Modi. A 90-minute cultural program titled, 'Woven: The Indian-American Story' is going to celebrate the contributions of Indian-Americans to the cultural, and social landscape of the United States.
Modi has previously addressed similar gatherings at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Silicon Valley in California but this is being touted as the biggest ever gathering by a global political leader.
What is the political significance of the event?
The White House had issued a statement saying, "It will be a great opportunity to emphasise the strong ties between the people of the US 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 Mega event will see the participation of a large number of elected officials, including senators, congressmen, governors, judges, and business leaders. The two sides hope to announce a potential deal on longstanding trade issues, including the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
A bipartisan group of 44 influential lawmakers has urged the Trump administration to reinstate India's designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme as part of a potential trade deal between the two countries.
Indian-Americans are not just an educated and wealthy community today but have fast become an organised, powerful voting bloc with a unified voice, and national political and policy aspirations.
While for Trump this could be a major opportunity to please a huge vote bank, for PM Modi this will be an opportunity to display a massive show of strength, which could indicate support of the Indian community for Donald Trump right ahead of 2020 US elections and also to garner foreign support for critical issues like Kashmir.
Meanwhile, back in India
While the world may be keeping a keen eye on the event and building great expectations, back home the opposition led by the Congress is taking a swipe at Howdy, Modi!
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a dig at PM Modi over the state of the economy in India, saying "'Howdy' economy doin', Mr Modi? Ain't too good it seems."
Priyanka Gandhi too commented, 'Foreign Events Won't Get You Investors'.
Despite these criticisms, everyone who is keen to understand where the Indo-American story is going will be watching this grand event. The three-hour-long event on Sunday, September 22, will begin at 8:30 pm IST.For more on this, watch the video by Sakshi BatraThe Great Diwali Discount!
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