Trump, Indian Prime Minister descend onto Houston

by | Sep 23, 2019 | Foreign Policy, Politics

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi showered praise on President Donald Trump on Sunday before thousands in Houston, billing him as a “great leader” and “special person” who has “wit.” Trump returned the praise, saying Modi is doing an “exceptional job.” 

Modi, who is also a controversial right-wing figure, has been described as India’s Trump.

The rally at NRG Stadium, billed as “Howdy Modi,” is one of the largest gatherings of the Indian diaspora in the United States. Houston is home to a large Indian and Pakistani community, and Texas is India’s second largest trading partner in the U.S., according to Sen. John Cornyn, who attended the event along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

The president dedicated much of his speech to the U.S. and India economic alliance, suggesting that both countries are “seeing people prosper like never before” — despite growing fears of an economic downturn in America. 

Tens of thousands filled the stadium on Sunday, but “not all of us are thrilled to see Modi and Trump in our backyard,” wrote Swati Narayan and Manpreet K. Singh in an opinion article for CNN. “Both leaders have stoked divisions within their respective countries, and enacted troubling policies that chip away at democracy. And as tempting as it might be to celebrate ‘Howdy Modi’ as a moment for the Indian American community to be seen, heard and recognized as a rising political force in the US, we’re worried that it comes at a cost that is far too high.”

The scene outside the stadium was a stark contrast to the celebratory one inside. Thousands took to the streets protesting Modi and the Indian administration for reasons including freeing Punjab from Indian occupation, ending India’s genocide of Kashmiris in their land and killing Muslims and Christians in the country. Protestor signs compared Modi to Hitler. 

Also on Sunday, Trump projected confidence about winning Texas in 2020, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. 

“When you hear something is in play, that means close … I don’t see how I could possibly lose Texas. The only way it’s possible is people think you’re going to win, and win by a lot, and therefore they don’t go out and vote.”

Numerous polls show Texas is competitive next year, with Democratic presidential candidates beating or neck-and-neck with Trump in the Lone Star State.

Photos: Sarah Taqvi/ Texas Signal

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