The mega "Howdy, Modi!" Indian-American community event in Houston on Sunday to greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump would provide the world a glimpse of the valuable contributions of Indian-Americans to the cultural, intellectual and social landscape of the United States, the organisers said.
For the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump would share the stage to address more than 50,000 Indian-Americans during the September 22 'Howdy, Modi!' event during the session "Shared Dreams, Bright Future" that would focus on the success of Indian-Americans as well as the strength of the US-India relationship.
Describing the joint appearance of the two leaders as "unconventional and unique", Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Indian Ambassador to the US said, "the event will reflect the strong bipartisan support there has been for US-India relations."
"Indian-Americans are an "organic bridge" between the world's two largest democracies," he said.
PM Modi will be visiting the US from September 21 to September 27 for the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly or UN General Assembly. It is his first US visit after winning a second term as Prime Minister in May. He will also have a meeting with the CEO's of energy companies in Houston, before heading to New York for the UN General Assembly.
The 'Howdy, Modi!' event "will be the largest gathering for an invited foreign leader visiting the United States other than the Pope," Jugal Malini, member of the Texas India Forum (TIF), which is the main organiser of the event, said.
The 'Howdy, Modi!' event is the third meeting between Donald Trump and PM Modi in three months, after the G20 summit in Japan in June and the G7 summit in France last month. The organisers hope to keep the event non-partisan, and have invited speakers including Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives.
Jagdip Ahluwalia, founding secretary and currently executive director of the
Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), told news agency Press Trust of India that there are 90 organisations in town participating in the event.
The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston has created a special billboard to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Houston is considered the energy capital of the world and one of the most diverse cities in America. The news of President Trump joining the 'Howdy, Modi!' event is a sign of the growing importance of the US-India relationship, he said.
Hundreds of volunteers, Texas India Forum, the Indian Consulate in Houston, city officials, the governor's office are all working together on the 'Howdy, Modi!' event, to make it a grand success.
The 'Howdy, Modi!' Event Details
The Texas India Forum said the event will start with a 90-minute cultural programme - "Woven: The Indian-American Story" - that is a celebration of Indian-Americans and their valuable contributions to the cultural, intellectual and social landscape of the US.
The 90-minute cultural show will feature close to 400 performers and community members from Texas and across the United States. 27 groups are performing at the event. Two original songs have been written for the event, which will trace the journey of the Indian-American youth.
Then there will be the "Shared Dreams, Bright Future" session, which would focus on the success of Indian-Americans as well as the strength of the US-India relationship. US President Donald Trump is expected to make a speech at the event.
This will be followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech.
The 'Howdy, Modi!' event on Sunday, September 22 will be 3 hours long - 8:30 pm IST (India time) to 11:30 pm IST - and more than 50,000 attendees and those watching at home will experience the vibrant expressions of people empowered by their identity and driven to enrich the communities around them, the organisers said.
The 'Howdy, Modi!' event will be held at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The stadium is one of America's largest professional football stadiums, and is home to the Houston Texans franchise, and held theSuper Bowl in 2017.
The event will have simultaneous English translation available for everyone to listen to at the stadium via their smartphones.
Attendees of the 'Howdy, Modi!' event represent 48 US states, with a bipartisan delegation of governors, members of the US Congress, mayors, and other public officials.
Rishi Bhutada, public relations and media coordinator for the event, said, "Out of over 50,000 people expected, 8,000 are coming from outside Texas state. There will be a cultural programme, followed by the Prime Minister Modi''s address, he said.
Welcome messages, personalised billboards across the city, special videos from various organisations and prominent people are seen throughout the city.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his message says, "I'm deeply appreciative of Prime Minister Modi's commitment to Digital India...for India to keep making progress, India needs to be a leader online."
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says, "India has world class entrepreneurs and human capital. The Prime Minister's vision is spot on; he knows how tech is a powerful tool to enable human ingenuity."
Durga Agrawal, President and CEO of Piping Tech and Products, extended a warm welcome to Prime Minister Modi on behalf of the entire Indian-American community in Houston.
Bhavesh Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell, described the business relations between India and Texas while sharing an enthusiastic message to welcome PM Modi.
Paul Jacobs, former executive chairman, Qualcomm, said "We share Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy."
David Leebron, President of Rice University, is pleased that PM Modi has decided to come to Houston and proudly zooms in on the Indian-American community on campus while highlighting their contribution towards diversity.
The local weather department however, said that there might be a possibility of rain caused by the tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. There may be heavy rain in parts of Texas and Louisiana in the coming days, it said.
Threats from the tropical storm include heavy rain and possible flooding in the Houston area, said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District.
Tropical depression Imelda could bring up to 18 inches of rain to parts of southeastern parts of the state, he added. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has placed resources on standby across the state.