PM Modi Arrives in Houston on Week-long US Visit, to Meet President Trump & Address Mega Event

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accorded a warm welcome by members of the Indian community here on Saturday as he arrived for the mega 'Howdy Modi!' event in which he will be joined by United States President Donald Trump and address over 50,000 Indian-Americans.

On the way to Houston, Modi's flight made a two-hour technical halt in Frankfurt early on Saturday morning where he was received by India's Ambassador to Germany, Mukta Tomar, and Consul General Pratibha Parkar.

The 'Howdy Modi!' event on Sunday at the sprawling NRG Football Stadium in Houston will be the largest gathering ever for an elected foreign leader visiting the US, other than the Pope.

Trump's presence at the Houston event marks a new milestone, Modi had said in his departure statement ahead of his visit. This would be the first time a US President will attend an Indian-American community event with Modi and also the first time that Trump and Modi share a stage together. The event is the third meeting between the two leaders in three months, after the G-20 summit in Japan in June and the G-7 summit in France last month.

Trump earlier has hinted that there could be some announcement by him at the 'Howdy Modi!' event.

Responding to a question if there would be any announcement when he visits Houston for the event with Modi, Trump said, “Could be. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Modi.”

Both countries are racing to negotiate a limited trade deal to be signed by Trump and Modi at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The deal under discussion with India would lower some tariffs on US produce and restore preferential treatment for some Indian exports to the US, said sources.

Modi in Houston on Saturday will interact with the CEOs of leading American energy companies with an aim to enhance India-US energy partnership.

From Houston, Modi will fly to New York where he will address the annual high-level UN General Assembly session in New York on September 27 and will have a packed agenda of bilateral and multilateral engagements.

At a press briefing on Friday, Texas India Forum (TIF) spokespersons Priti Dawra, Gitesh Desai and Rishi Bhutada briefed the media about the event timeline, what to expect, and why Houston was chosen for such a mega community event.

A bipartisan group of senior elected officials, leaders from the US government including, senators, governors, mayors will also attend the event.

Texas accounts for 10% of India-US trade, about $7 billion worth of US goods and commodities are moved between Texas and India. Some of the largest companies are setting up their headquarters all over Texas, creating jobs and opportunities for Americans and Indian Americans.

(With inputs from PTI)