New Delhi/Houston: The countdown for “Howdy Modi” has begun. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a high-profile Indian diaspora jamboree in the presence of US President Donald Trump on Sunday morning (local time), in Houston, Texas. Casting a shadow on the festivities, however, is a tropical cyclone that has already wreaked havoc in the Houston area, causing the cancellation or delay of 900 flights on Thursday.
The PM will also be visiting New York where he will hold a series of bilateral meetings before add-ressing the UN General Assembly on Friday.
In Houston, tropical storm Imelda threatened to put a dampener on the NRI lovefest, as air travelers faced delays, and roads such as Interstate 10 were closed in both directions when two barges broke free of their moorings and struck the bridges on that road. The heaviest rainfall had ended by Thursday night, but forecasters warned that parts of the region could see flash flooding.
The storm could also throw cold water on plans by Kashmiri separatists, Khalistan advocates, and Pakistan supporters to protest near the venue of the Houston event.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has already expressed confidence that the local authorities would take necessary action. He added that 50,000 of the diaspora would attend “Howdy Modi” at NRG Football Stadium, outnumbering those attending the events at Madison Square Garden (NY) on 2014 and at San Jose (California) in 2015. Indian Ambassador Harsh V. Shringla was at NRG early Friday. A car rally featuring the tirangaa (tricolour) as well as the red-white-and-blue was organised. Volunteers sported “Namo again” shirts and giddily confessed that they would welcome the PM wholeheartedly....