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Wednesday 29 January 2020

Howdy, Modi: What’s the brouhaha all about?

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the US next week. This will be Modi’s first US tour in his second term. There, he will address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). But before moving to UNGA, PM Modi will first visit the city of Houston, Texas, in the US where he will be greeted by the slogan “Howdy, Modi!”

A big event for Prime Minister Modi is being organised in Houston. More than 50,000 people will assemble there to listen to India’s prime minister. The most important part of the prime minister’s itinerary is the participation of US President Donald Trump in this programme, which the White House has confirmed.

“A special gesture by @POTUS, signifying the special friendship between India and (the) USA! Delighted that President @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,” Modi tweeted after receiving the confirmation from White House.

The Texas India Forum has tweeted about the event: “Official statement from the Texas India Forum: We can confirm that @POTUS will be addressing #HowdyModi on Sept 22 with @PMOIndia at @nrgpark.. @narendramodi @realDonaldTrump”

This event is expected to add a new chapter in the already warm India-US relations. But “Howdy”, the abbreviated form of “how do you do?” in south-western America, may give some a wrong impression that this is a casual visit by the Indian prime minister.

This will be the third major programme of the prime minister in the US. Prior to this, he had attended events at the Madison Square on 29 September 2014 and Silicon Valley on 27 September 2015. This time, he will address the crowd at the NRG Stadium in Houston on 22 September at 10 AM.

More than 60 American lawmakers, including senior Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer, will be there at the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event along with hundreds of businessmen.

A section of the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event will deal with cultural exchanges between the two countries, wherein a 90-minute programme called “Woven: The Indian-American Story” has been included. It will feature 400 artistes and other community members from Texas and the rest of the US.

The tour will have its fair share of economic agreements, agreement or resolve against terrorism, and an urge by India for American support against any kind of anti-Indian propaganda done by a few hostile countries. On 24 September, there will be a curtain-raiser for the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. On this day, the prime minister will be awarded the Global Peacemaker Award by the Bill and Melinda Guest Foundation for the steps he has taken under the Swachh Bharat initiative for cleanliness.

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