Houston: The Indian diaspora in Houston are thrilled over reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could visit America’s energy capital to address them during his planned trip to the US to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in September.
Community leaders said the dates for the prime minister’s address has not been finalised yet, but they have been asked to make preparations for a potential address of Modi in Houston on September 22.
Houston, which has one of the largest concentration of the Indian-American community in the US, is the energy capital of the world. Energy security is a priority area for the prime minister.
This could be Modi’s third major address to the Indian-American community after he became the prime minister in 2014 and the first after his re-election in May.
The previous two being at the Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014 and the Silicon Valley in 2016. Both the events were attended by more than 20,000 people.
Prime Minister Modi’s possible visit to Houston and New York in the last week of September has already got Indian Americans into discussions and excitement mode about his arrival.
Indian-American community leaders in Houston said that “this visit was long-awaited since Modi’s first address in New York in 2014 and later in California in 2016.” “The Indian diaspora is thrilled and counting the days for Modi’s visit to Houston. We are enthusiastically preparing, one of the most memorable programmes to welcome him,” said the members of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP).
Prime Minister Modi is expected to address the Indian diaspora on September 22, at the NRG Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 45,000 people, the Indian community leaders said.
Prime Minister Modi is likely to attend the UNGA session in New York between September 20-23 and will take a day off from his schedule to visit Houston on September 21-22, they said.
“As it is very early in the stage, no other plans are yet finalised,” a community leader said.
Regarding Modi’s trip to Houston, Mayor Sylvestor Turner, who took a trade delegation to India in November last, told PTI, “I look forward with excitement to Prime Minister Modi’s visit as this historic visit will strengthen the already robust bonds between Houston and India on trade, culture, tourism and more.” “As one of the most international cities in the world, Houston hosts one of the biggest and most vibrant Indian communities in the US. This is one of the many growing connections I discussed with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and some national government ministers during my trade mission to New Delhi and Mumbai,” Turner said.
The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) said Prime Minister Modi’s planned visit will not only strengthen the economic ties between the two countries but also encourage more investment in India.
IACCGH Founding Secretary Jagdip Ahluwalia said Texas accounts for 15 per cent of the US global trade while Houston-India trade stands at USD 6.6 billion.
“With a catchment area of over 400,000 Indo-Americans, Houston, the energy capital of the world, and home to the worlds largest medical centre and NASA Johnson Space Centre, we hope the prime minister during his visit will announce a non-stop flight from Houston to Delhi,” Ahluwalia said.