‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston: Live | We are witnessing history being made, says Modi

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The three-hour “Howdy, Modi!” event in which President Donald Trump will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi is organised at the sprawling NRG Football Stadium, one of the largest in the US, with an impressive history of shows that starred Beyonce, Metallica, U2.

Mr. Modi arrived at the NRG stadium and shook hands with 24 U.S. lawmakers, including Senator Ted Cruz, and a Governor. Later Mr. Trump joined him.

 

The “Howdy Modi” event is the largest gathering ever for an elected foreign leader visiting the U.S., other than the Pope.

“Howdy Houston! It’s a bright afternoon here in Houston. Looking forward to a wide range of programmes in this dynamic and energetic city today and tomorrow,” Mr. Modi tweeted soon after he landed at the George Bush International Airport.

 

Here are the live updates:

The NRG Stadium in Houston is packed to capacity for the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

The NRG Stadium in Houston is packed to capacity for the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

11.22 p.m.

Modi takes stage

Mr. Modi begins speech. Howdi My friends, he begins and switches to Hindi. “We’re witnessing new history being made and a new chemistry”.

Plays with NRG, energy and synergy.

 

10.55 p.m.

Trump’s address

Mr. Trump begins his address. Reverse praise now. He calls this a profound and historic event. Describes Mr. Modi as America’s greatest, most loyal friend; says he is doing exceptional job for India.

Takes some time out to address Houston on the flood situation. We are working hard together, he says.

Back to the topic. He tells Indian-Americans that he’s proud to have them as Americans. 

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

If there’s a friend of in India in the White House that friend is Donald trump, he says. “Both our statutes begin with the three beautiful words: We The People.”

He says: “Under Modi the world is witnessing a strong, thriving and sovereign India.”

“Our relationship today is stronger than ever before and we are grounded in commitment to democracy.

“We welcome India’s growing investments right here in the Lone Star State.

“In November, India and U.S. will hold a first ever joint tri-service event. Very soon several defence deals would be signed between India and US to bolster our security relationship,” Mr. Trump says.  The event will be titled Tiger Triumph.

Mr. Trump hints at India visit in November. Says “I may come” to first ever NBA game in Mumbai.

  • Ms. Parthasarathy on Trump speech: “POTUS makes a significant gesture to India, surely fuelled by PM Modi’s deft diplomacy & charismatic outreach, by asserting that India has never had a better friend as US President than himself!”

“Border security is vital to both U.S. and India,” Mr. Trump says and Mr. Modi is shown clapping. “We stand proudly protecting innocent Indian-Americans from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”

Mr. Trump concludes his speech.

10.45 p.m.

Modi addresses Howdy, Modi!

Mr. Modi begins his speech in English. Heaps praise on Mr. Trump.  President Trump was very popular even before he occupied high office. Rrom CEO to Commander-in-Chief, he continues as Mr. Trump smiles.  Every time I met him he was the same… warm, accessible… I admire him for his strong resolve to make America great again.  Trump has always been warm affectionate and full of wit….refers to Trump slogan “Abki baar Trump sarkar” and Diwali celebrations in The White House to cheers from the crowds. Crowd roars.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

Recalls Mr. Trump saying India has a true friend in the White House. “Your presence hear is great testimony to that fact,” he says.  “Mr. President, this morning in Houston you can hear the heartbeat of this great partnership in the celebration of two of the world’s largest democracies.”

  • Here’s what Malini Parthasarathy, the Co-Chairperson of The Hindu Group says about Mr. Trump’s speech: “PM Modi virtually endorses @realDonaldTrump’s re-elections bid as Trump looks on, pleased as punch! Not sure why organisers of this rally didn’t put chairs on the stage for the two leaders to sit!”

10.40 p.m.

Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump are shown walking to the stage.

Both are arrive at the stage. The Star Studded Banner and Jan Gan Man are played. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump at the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump at the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

10.30 p.m.

Trump arrives

President Donald Trump has arrived at the NRG Football stadium. He will be joining Mr. Modi shortly to address the gathering.

Ahead of the arrival, Mr. Trump received a briefing on the Houston flood situation, reports The Hill.

10 p.m.

 

Vaishnav Jan To meets Amazing Grace

Mr. Modi leaves stage along with the U.S. lawmakers after the House Majority Leader’s speech. Now, a powerful medley of Vaishnava Janto and Amazing Grace  is played as photos of the Mahatma and Martin Luther King Jr. are displayed in the background.

 

9.45 p.m.

Modi presented key to Houston

Mr. Modi has arrived at the stage to a rousing welcome and chants of “Modi, Modi”.  He shares stage with 24 U.S. lawmakers and a Governor. Most of the lawmakers are Republican, with the exception of Shiela Lee Jackson and Steny Hoyer. Organisers had been worried that President Trump’s appearance is keeping Democrats away, and the 24 lawmakers present (and 1 Governor) is less than the 35 that had been expected.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a Congressional delegation at the NRG Stadium in Houston for the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a Congressional delegation at the NRG Stadium in Houston for the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


Mr. Modi has been presented with a key of Houston by the Mayor.

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner presents Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the city's key at the NRG Stadium in Houston during the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner presents Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the city’s key at the NRG Stadium in Houston during the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

PM stands next to Democrat and Senate majority leader Steny Hoyer as he speaks first.  “We have come here with the same purpose. To celebrate the growing partnership between India and America,” Mr. Hoyer says adding that the India-U.S. relationship has remained bipartisan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi listens as Democrat and Senate majority leader Steny Hoyer speaks at the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi listens as Democrat and Senate majority leader Steny Hoyer speaks at the Howdy, Modi! event in Houston’s NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

9.30 p.m.

Modi arrives for the event

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the NRG Stadium in Houston for the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the NRG Stadium in Houston for the Howdy, Modi! event on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

Mr. Modi has arrived at the event. Houston mayor Sylvester Turner has given a welcome speech. A Congressional delegation to the event is introduced.

 Mr. Turner said Houston is the most diverse city in the U.S., and we say Howdy in more than 140 languages. One fourth of us come from another country.

 

 

Ted Cruz is now addressing the crowd.

9 p.m.

 

Woven: Showcasing the multiplicity of Indian-American experience

The 90-minute music, dance, and multimedia show, titled Woven, features close to 400 artists and community members from Texas and across the nation.

There are 27 groups performing in a live and multimedia experience that will showcase the diversity in the Indian-American community, organisers said.

“A challenge that many second and third generation Indian-Americans go through is navigating the complexity of having a hyphenated identity as an Indian and an American. Woven showcases the multiplicity of Indian-American experience. Our hope is that each person sees themselves in at least one form of expression and recognises that whatever mix of Indian and American they are, it is just right,” said Heena Patel, CEO of MELA Arts Connect and co-producer of the programme.

Spectators at the Howdy, Modi! show at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@howdymodi

Spectators at the Howdy, Modi! show at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@howdymodi
 


 

8.30 p.m.

 

‘We’re going to have a good time’

“Will be in Houston to be with my friend. Will be a great day in Texas!” tweets Mr. Trump.

Before leaving for Houston, Mr. Trump told reporters on the South Lawns of the White House: “We’ll be going to Houston and we’ll be at a very nice big stadium packed full of people with Prime Minister Modi.”

“He (Modi) asked if I would go with him and I’ve accepted and We’re going to have a good time,” Mr. Trump said. “I hear it’s a tremendous crowd.”

A member of the audience at the Howdy, Modi! event at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: Suhasini Haidar

A member of the audience at the Howdy, Modi! event at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: Suhasini Haidar
 


 

8.20 p.m.

Realpolitik behind Modi-Trump show

“Apart from the bonhomie between the two leaders, there are several reasons of realpolitik that are also bringing the two men together on one stage.

To begin with, the U.S. is now well into its campaign season for presidential elections in 2020, and Mr. Trump is locking his sights on both the sizeable and influential Indian-American community, as well as the Texas vote.

Spectators at the Howdy, Modi! event at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: Suhasini Haidar

Spectators at the Howdy, Modi! event at NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: Suhasini Haidar
 


 

The last Senate election there in June was very close between the winning Republican and Democratic candidates, and recent polls show Democratic presidential frontrunner Joseph Biden a few points ahead of Mr. Trump among Texan voters for elections in November 2020.

Despite his direct pitch to voters of Indian origin (“I am a big fan of Hindu and a big fan of India”) during the 2016 campaign, only 16% of Indian-Americans voted for Mr. Trump in 2016.”

Read the anlysis by our National Editor Suhasini Haidar who is reporting live from NRG stadium

 

8.15 p.m.

The Howdy Modi event in Houston is set to begin shortly.

Here is the schedule of Howdy Modi event

Around 9:20 pm: President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will walk to the stage.

Around 9:20-9:30 pm: Houston Mayor will welcome PM Modi and President Trump.

Around 9.39 -10:09 pm: President Trump will speak at Howdy Modi.

Around 10:15 pm: PM Modi will speak at Howdy Modi event.

8 p.m.

 

“Howdy, Modi!” begins with a Sikh Gurbani prayer from the Kirtan singers of the Guru Nanak Society of Greater Cincinnati. The NRG stadium is filling up. Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump are expected to walk in at around 9.20 p.m. IST.

A cultural programme is under way during the Howdy, Modi! diaspora event in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!

A cultural programme is under way during the Howdy, Modi! diaspora event in Houston on September 22, 2019. Photo: YouTube/Howdy Modi!
 


 

 

Protests outside NRG stadium

Protesters seen outside the venue of Howdy Modi event in Houston on September 22, 2019.

Protesters seen outside the venue of Howdy Modi event in Houston on September 22, 2019.
 
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


 

As Houston’s NRG centre began to fill up with Indian-Americans attending the Howdy Modi rally, protestors began to gather outside the venue. While a number of people are expected to be bussed in by separatist Khalistani and Kashmiri groups, as well as Pakistan-backed organisations, those belonging to the Alliance for Justice for Accountability held a press conference to say they would also protest, comprising activists from “Hindu, Muslim, Dalit, Sikh and Christian groups”, as well as an American Jewish group “jewish Voices for Peace” and African American minority groups like “Black lives Matter” as well. Houston police has set up strict barricades around the venue.

 

Calling the revocation of Article 370 and reports of Human Rights violations a “symptom of facism and anti-pluralism”, Lubabah Abdullah, the executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Houston called on US government officials not to attend the event.

However organisers said they expect more than 50 US lawmakers and more than a dozen governors to attend the event, which will be addressed by US President Donald Trump and by Senate Majority leader Steny Hoyer, who is a Democrat.

 

 

Restrictions in place

Official twitter handle City of Houston “For those attending @HowdyModi please take note of the @nrgpark clear bag policy in effect. Backpacks, purses, and diaper bags are not permitted. #NRGStadium strongly encourages fans not to bring any bags.”

 

Trump leaves for Houston

US President Donald Trump leaves for Houston from Joint Base Andrews (Maryland). Mr. Trump will be attending the Howdy Modi event where he is expected to deliver 30-minute speech.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to Houston to attend an event with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22, 2019, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for a trip to Houston to attend an event with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 22, 2019, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.  
| Photo Credit: AP


 

Modi interacts with Kashmiri Pandits

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a “special interaction” with a 17-member delegation of Kashmiri Pandits here and assured them of “building a new Kashmir” which would be for everyone.

The delegation, which included Kashmiri Pandits from across the United States, met Prime Minister Modi on his arrival in Houston as part of his week-long visit to the U.S.

 

Looking forward to the event: Modi

Looking forward to a wide range of programmes, including addressing a record 50,000 Indian Americans, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the energy capital of the world on Saturday with “Howdy”, the traditional Texan way of greetings.

“Howdy Houston”, he tweeted soon after landing in Houston in the afternoon. “It’s a bright afternoon here in Houston,” he added.

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