New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday confirmed that US President Donald Trump would join him as he addresses a huge crowd of both American-Indians and NRIs in Houston, Texas, on September 22, in what Mr Modi described as “a special gesture signifying the special friendship between India and the US”, and also “highlighting the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy”.
The programme has been named ‘Howdy Modi’, a reference to Texans’ traditional drawl and greeting. Speculation is also rife that a trade deal may be reached between the two nations and could be announced at the function in the presence of both President Trump and Modi.
Modi is expected to visit the United States from September 22 to 27. While he will address the Indian community in Houston, he will later travel to New York where he will address the UN General Assembly on September 27. In between, Mr Modi is likely to have several bilateral meetings lined up with world leaders in New York. He is also expected to meet business leaders during his visit.
Modi tweeted, “The special gesture of President @realDonaldTrump to join us in Houston highlights the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy. #HowdyModi.”
He also tweeted, “A special gesture by @POTUS, signifying the special friendship between India and USA! Delighted that @realDonaldTrump will join the community programme in Houston on the 22nd. Looking forward to joining the Indian origin community in welcoming him at the programme.”
If a trade deal with the US is indeed announced during Mr Modi’s visit, it is expected to assuage President Trump’s concerns about levy of duties on American goods as well as the increase in US imports by India.
Just last month, after a meeting between Mr Modi and President Trump in France on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had said, “The PM stressed on the importance of energy imports from the US saying that $4 billion of imports are already in the pipeline and that we expect to step it up.” He also said that Modi would have a roundtable meeting with top American CEOs.