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‘Political Benefits For Both Leaders’: US Diplomat on Trump Joining PM at 'Howdy Modi' Rally

The White House has announced that US President would join Narendra Modi at the mega Houston rally, which would be attended by more than 50,000 Indian Americans, on September 22.


Updated:September 18, 2019, 8:12 AM IST
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‘Political Benefits For Both Leaders’: US Diplomat on Trump Joining PM at 'Howdy Modi' Rally
President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi share a laugh together during a bilateral meeting at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France. (Image: AP)

Washington: US President Donald Trump's decision to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the mega 'Howdy Modi' rally in Houston over the weekend is a truly historic tribute to the contributions of the Indian-Americans, a top US diplomat has said.

The White House has announced that Trump would join Modi at the mega Houston rally, which would be attended by more than 50,000 Indian Americans, on September 22.

"Trump joining Modi for the Howdy Modi event in Houston is a truly historic tribute to the contributions of the Indian-American community to the prosperity of our country and the strength of US-India relations," Alice G Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, tweeted on Tuesday.

Senator Ted Cruz, and a former Republican presidential aspirant said he was looking forward to welcoming Modi to Houston to celebrate the culture and contributions of the Indian-American community and the vibrant US-Indian alliance, which is critical to America's national security and energy future.

According to Ronak D Desai, Law & Security Fellow at New America and a scholar at Harvard University's South Asia Institute, with the partnership confronting several significant irritants at present; Trump's appearance with Modi is a welcome reminder of the importance of symbolism in US-India ties and the strong foundation underlying them.

"President Trump's appearance with Prime Minister Modi in Houston confers tremendous political benefits to both leaders at home and abroad," he said.

The news that President Trump will appear alongside Prime Minister Modi at Houston just weeks after the two leaders met at the G-7 is a powerful reminder that the overall foundation of the US-India strategic partnership remains strong, regardless of ongoing bilateral challenges, Desai observed.

The bipartisan consensus around the relationship remains firmly intact despite being tested in recent years. The event - like the relationship - enjoys strong, widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans alike at virtually every level, he said.

"Trump's decision to join Modi in Houston will inevitably provide more fodder to their supporters and critics alike. But the joint appearance should be viewed as less about the two leaders individually than the robustness of the US-India relationship," Desai said.

The last 15 years have illustrated over and over again that while personalities matter, the strategic partnership continues to grow and evolve regardless of who occupies the White House in Washington or the Prime Minister's residence in Delhi, he said.

Stating that Trump's appearance with Modi in Houston is a significant win for India diplomatically, Desai noted that it will signal clear support for India at a time when New Delhi is inviting increasing scrutiny over its handling of Kashmir.

"For a US president to stand alongside the prime minister just weeks after the revocation of Article 370 is another sign of India's changing place in the world and Modi's growing stature globally," Desai said.

The Houston event - Modi's biggest to date - makes clear that the Diaspora remains a central priority for the prime minister as his second term gets underway, he said.

"The rally is a testament to the durable and visceral popularity Modi enjoys within the Indian Diaspora in the United States. No Indian leader in history has cultivated Indians living abroad the way Modi has done so since taking office," Desai said.

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