TRUMP AND MODI …Howdy Modi show brings two democracies together in rare moment of warmth

HOUSTON (US): The highly billed Howdy Modi event at the NRG Stadium here on Saturday saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump taking the US-India relations to a spectacular high level – the two virtually joining hands in what seemed to be the start of a more impressive era of bilateral cooperation between the two democracies – one the oldest, and the other the largest.
At the grand star-studded spectacle, that had local political overtones, PM Modi announced his — meaning the Indian community’s — support to Donald Trump for a re-run for the Presidency.
As the show progressed, the euphoric crowd repeatedly cheered the two leaders— Modi as the principal performer and Trump as the chief guest for the event—and the Prime Minister raised the issue of cross-border terrorism from the Pakistani side, without directly naming the Islamic nation. With President Trump by his side, Modi said to loud cheers from the Indian-American audience that the time has come to stage a decisive battle against terrorism.
Butted in President Trump: “There is need to protect innocent civilians from radical Islamic terrorism. Trump’s comment drew a standing ovation from PM Modi as also the Indian delegation to the US comprising external affairs minister S Jaishankar and other top dignitaries and officials.
Trump seemed to extend his support to India vis-à-vis its bold actions in Jammu and Kashmir including the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which had given the province autonomous state status; something which the Modi government did away with through a decree on August 5 this year. Pronounced Trump, “Border security is vital to the United States. Border security is vital to India. We understand that.” It drew loud cheers from the largely young audience. In this context, Modi butted in to say “Everything is fine with India.”
Notably, Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan also touched down in the US for meetings with President Trump this week.
At the end of the huge, inspiring show, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi walked hand-in-hand, drawing another loud round of cheers.
Outside the venue, small bands of pro-Kashmiri, pro-civil rights and pro-Khalistani demonstrators made their presence felt with sloganeering against PM Modi. Houston has a strong Muslim population. Notably, Pakistan’s minister for Kashmir Affairs, Ali Amin Gandapur was among those in the anti-Modi, anti-India protests. Pakistan’s hand was seen in the staging of the protests, even otherwise. –IHN-NN


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