Howdy, Modi!”, a grand event took place in Houston, Texas. The event is being attended by an audience of close to 50,000, most of them from the Indian community in the US.
“Howdy, Modi!” event has played host to a number of US lawmakers, prominent Indian Americans and around 400 artistes performed a multitude of cultural shows.
It will be a great opportunity to emphasise the strong ties between the people of the United States and India, to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham had said last week over the significance of the “Howdy, Modi!” event.
What is the political significance of the event?
The event has immense significance since India and the US which failed to agree upon a trade deal, with the US imposing tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium imports. India needs to negotiate with the US on a limited trade deal.
The White House had issued a statement saying “It will be a great opportunity to emphasise the strong ties between the people of the United States and India, to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship.”
A bipartisan group of 44 influential lawmakers has urged the Trump administration to reinstate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme as part of a potential trade deal between the two countries.
Indian-Americans are not just an educated and wealthy community today but have fast become an organised, powerful voting bloc with a unified voice, and national political and policy aspirations.
While for Trump this was a major opportunity to please and build a huge vote bank, for PM Modi this will be an opportunity to display a massive show of strength, which could indicate support of the Indian community for Donald Trump right ahead of 2020 US elections and also to garner foreign support.
Meanwhile, back in India
While the world was building great expectations, back home the opposition led by the Congress took a swipe at Howdy, Modi!
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a dig at PM Modi over the state of the economy in India, saying “‘Howdy’ economy doin’, Mr Modi? Ain’t too good it seems.”
Priyanka Gandhi too said, “Foreign Events Won’t Get You, Investors”.