Houston: In a grand show of friendship and common vision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Sunday shared the stage at a gala event replete with symbolism and substance, as the two leaders pledged to fight terrorism while heaping praise on each other’s achievements. A 90-minute show, featuring 400 performers, warmed up the crowd before Modi and Trump shared the stage.
Talk on terror
In his address, Modi hit out at Pakistan for its support to terrorism and said India’s decision to nullify Article 370 has caused trouble to those who cannot handle their country as he called for a “decisive battle” against terrorism. Making a strong pitch against terrorism in the presence of President Trump, who joined the mega event in a rare gesture of friendship, Modi asked the crowd to give Trump a standing ovation, as he targeted Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan, without directly naming them. “Article 370 encouraged terrorism and separatism in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, asserting that its nullification will allow development and prosperity in the region and end discrimination against women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
Modi gave tacit support to Trump’s 2020 re-election bid at the “Howdy, Modi” event, saying “Abki Baar, Trump Sarkar”. Modi said in his speech to introduce Trump to a wildly cheering crowd of some 50,000 Indians living in the US at the event. “When I met him for the first time, Trump said India has a true friend in the White House. Your presence here is a great testimony to that,” Modi said. In response, Trump praised Modi’s economic reforms and said these have lifted more than three million people out of poverty. “And that is an incredible number,” he added. “In both India and the US, we’re seeing something remarkable: Our people are prospering like never before because we are slashing bureaucracy and cutting red tape,” Trump said. Modi invited Trump to India with family.
Since assuming office, you have been a steadfast friend of India and the Indian community.
Your presence indicates your respect towards India and the Indian diaspora. pic.twitter.com/iGHjT6Tp5a
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 23, 2019
“If data is available at affordable prices anywhere in the world, it is India. 1 gb data in India is available at nearly 25 cents. This has been possible under Digital India ,” says Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Howdy Modi in Houston. From e-governance to income tax returns, Modi says the cheap data has brought convenience to the people in India.
What’s up in India
Modi described in detail his efforts towards clean India campaign and sanitation. He also spoke about his fight against corruption. Emphasising that diversity is the foundation of India’s democracy, Modi said the country’s various languages are an important identity of its liberal and democratic society. Modi also referred to the recent decisions of his government to liberalize and reform the economy including reduction in corporate tax. He said that he expects positive results from his talks with President Trump in the next few days.
The USA Loves India! https://t.co/xlfnWafxpg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2019
Trump vows safety
Addressing the gathering, Trump vowed to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and said border security is vital to both America and India as he emphasised on bolstering further the Indo-US security relationship. “India and the US also understand that to keep our community safe, we must protect our borders. Border security is vital to the US. Border Security is vital to India. And we understand that,” he said as Modi clapped. He emphasised on working closely with India to enhance space co-operation. He praised the contributions of the Indian-Americans, saying they have enriched “our culture and uplifted our values. We are proud to have them as Americans.”
The event is a huge diplomatic victory for Modi, who has emerged as an even taller international statesman after displaying such close rapport with Trump the two walked hand in hand after their speeches. Also, Trump did not use his official podium with the official seal, but spoke from behind one that had India and US flags on it.
|Turning the title of the event into a question, the prime minister responded,”This programme name is Howdy Modi, but Modi alone is nothing. I am a simple man who works on order of 130 crore people,” says Modi. “When you ask me Howdy Modi, I say everything is fine in India.” He then proceeded to repeat the phrase in eight other Indian languages—Punjabi, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Bangla, among others.|
— BJP (@BJP4India) September 23, 2019
|Trump and Modi walked down a red carpet winding through the bowels of the stadium played on the screens as a drum band played in anticipation of their grand entrance. The two strode onto the stage holding hands.|