On Sunday, the Indian-American community in Houston, Texas organised the ‘Howdy, Modi Event’ at the NRG Stadium. Narendra Modi had arrived in New York for the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly. He was invited by the Indian Diaspora to attend and address the community. The Indian PM was not alone as he was accompanied by none other than the President of The US, Donald Trump. They both addressed an unimaginable crowd of around 50,000 people. Many important officials like our External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the U.S House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, The Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner, and US Senator for Texas, John Cornyn.
The event was grand and marked a new chapter in the Indo-US relationship. It was definitely a great deal for any foreign leader to share the same stage with the POTUS before such a huge gathering. The speech given by PM Modi was politically very significant for both the nations. Some of the highlights of the events were:
Howdy Modi Event Highlights
- PM Modi opened up about the scraping off of Article 370. He shared that the nullification of Article 370 will bring about a better scope of development for the regions of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. The separatist tendencies will also be corrected.
- PM Modi attacked nations for nurturing and shielding terrorists. He called out to the conspirators of terrorist attacks in the past and assured the world that India & the US stands together to combat terrorism.
- He also talked about bringing about better governance by creating a transparent sytem where development reaches all.
- A lot of emphasis was also given on making a Digital India.
- He also highlighted a shift from ‘Ease of Doing Business’ to ‘Ease of Living’. He shall try achieving this aim through a ‘Digital India’.
- He also vented out the big problem of the Hindi imposition issue by clearing out that India is a land of diversity and maintaining the multi-lingual character is an essence of any liberal-democratic nation. He went on to speak ‘All is Well’ in many Indian languages like Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi, etc. which made the crowd crazy!
- Very importantly our PM also highlighted the doing away of a very complicated and strict tax structure and how scraping away of the Corporate Tax will help the Indian economy.
- He was very determined to recognise a building up of a new relationship between US and India which will be stronger than before.
- The President of the U.S did not hesitate in calling India as one of its most loyal friends. He went on to say that Modi was a tough negotiator and many agreements of developing better relations with the two are on its way.
- Trump reasserted the coming together of both the nations to protect civilians from terrorism and any such radical activities.
- Donald Trump also spoke about the first ever NBA Game in India to be held in Mumbai. He seemed very excited to talk about the transportation of the US Game to its friend, India.
- Trump also congratulated the Indian PM on doing a tremendous job in the alleviation of poverty and increased investment in the US sectors.
- The US President acknowledged Indian attempt to prioritise border security and supported the nullifying of Article 370.
- The bond between the two leaders was clear when Modi vouched for Trump for his upcoming 2020 elections by declaring: “Apki Bar Trump Sarkar”. This particular statement incited debates and was criticised by the Congress leader, Mr. Anand Sharma, who believed that Mr.Modi had visited US as India’s Prime Minister and not as “star campaigner” for elections. According to him, Modi’s slogan was nothing but a violation of the Indian Foreign Policy.
- Another controversy that surrounded the “Howdy, Modi!” organised by the Texas India Forum was the denial of access to Hasan Minhaj and his crew members. A very well known Indian-American comedian, Hasan Minhaj, tried to attend the summit but he was denied the entry due to lack of media credentials and accommodation problem.
- This heated up controversies so much so that some media houses went on to cite this as an incident of ‘Islamophobia’.