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Howdy, Modi! Tens of thousands, including Trump, meet India’s PM in Texas

Howdy, Modi! Tens of thousands, including Trump, meet India’s PM in Texas
Over 50,000 people showed up for the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, giving India’s PM a rock star-level welcome. President Donald Trump joined him on stage as the two leaders lauded US-India ties.

People gathered hours in advance for the massive rally at Houston’s NRG Football Stadium with a music and dance show featuring around 400 artists. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name was chanted long before his appearance – a welcome for a foreign leader rarely seen on American soil. 

The spectacle was both campaign event for Trump and a show of the “strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies,” as the White House put it. Although it comes amid ongoing trade disputes between the two nations, the tensions were not reflected in the speeches that lauded the strong ties and friendship.

“India has a true friend in the White House,” Modi said. “Friends, as I told you, we have met a few times and every time he has been the same: warm, friendly, accessible, energetic and full of wit.”

And Trump confirmed that.

“You [India] have never had a better friend as president as President Donald Trump,” he said. “Under PM Modi’s leadership, the world is witnessing a strong, sovereign republic of India.”

All in all, Trump gave his typical election campaign-style speech focusing on border security and dealing with illegal immigration, both hot issues for Texas, but added an Indian twist to it.

“Both India and the US also understand that to keep our communities safe, we must protect our borders,” Trump said. He also talked about the NBA coming to India and Delhi planning to buy American liquefied natural gas.

Trump did not pass up on the chance to woo Indian-American voters, who predominantly preferred Hillary Clinton to him in 2016.

“You uphold our values, you uplift our communities and you are truly proud to be American and we are truly proud to have you as Americans,” Trump said.

Modi’s visit became the backdrop for one of the largest LNG deals the US has ever made. India’s Petronet LNG is investing $2.5 billion in Tellurian in exchange for 5 million metric tons of LNG per year over the lifespan of the project.

While the deal has been described as a “win-win” for both parties, New Delhi and Washington are still experiencing trade tensions. In June, the US terminated trade concessions for India as a developing country, citing the lack of reciprocal market access for US companies. The move closed the door on up to $5.6 billion worth of annual exports from India to the US. New Delhi has been trying to challenge the decision, but so far to no avail.

Also on rt.com India says it meets ‘developing country’ criteria in bid to reclaim US trade concessions

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