'Howdy, Modi!' triumphant moment for Indo-US ties: USISPF

HOUSTON: The joint address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump here to a record crowd of over 50,000 Indian Americans was a triumphant moment for Indo-US relationship, the head of a top India-centric strategic and advocacy group said Sunday. “The addresses by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to a 50,000 plus audience in Houston were a triumphant moment for our bilateral ties,” Mukesh Aghi, president of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), told PTI.

“The summit not only showed our leaders’ camaraderie with each other, but also their commitment towards the US-India partnership and why the two countries continue to be natural allies,” he said. Aghi said during the “Howdy, Modi!” rally, it was reiterated more than once that both countries have shared values, a love for independence, freedom and liberty that bind them together.

Trump touched upon every area of bilateral cooperation — from a strong defence partnership to fighting global terrorism, a growing energy trade and energy security, advanced clean energy technologies, and also some of the forward-looking aspects such as joint space cooperation, he said, referring to the US president’s speech at the event.

“Prime Minister Modi’s address reinforced India’s strong global position — geo-economically and geo-politically,” Aghi said, adding that a rising India is capable of attracting bigger and better US investments that create jobs in both countries. The Texas-India relationship itself is significant with Texas being India’s second-largest trading partner, he said.

“It is incredible to witness this growth in our ties and we commend both leaders who have started off this trip on a very solid footing,” Aghi said. The American corporate sector, he said, is looking forward to some tangible outcomes from the bilateral meeting in New York, where the two leaders will discuss the trade ties that have seen an upward trajectory in the last decade. “Most importantly, the summit was a stunning display of the power of our people-to-people ties and how Indian Americans continue to contribute economically, politically and culturally to the bilateral relationship,” Aghi said.

Eminent venture capitalist and philanthropist M R Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora, a group that tries to organise Indian Americans, told The New York Times that events like “Howdy, Modi!” help the community become more relevant in the US. Trump’s appearance here was an opportunity to increase his 14 per cent showing among Indian Americans in 2016, he added. Indian American attorney from New York Ravi Batra said precedents were broken and protocol-embedded wisdom discarded in Houston when Modi introduced Trump at the event.

“Such warmth, usually between brothers or best friends, can displace protocol for something better: a knowing and obvious joint destiny,” he said. “To the feint-hearted or mischievous, they need to proceed with caution during the 21st century, because Houston became the venue when history was reset and India — that Columbus set out to find — and America, that Columbus discovered, joined as long lost family with a passionate warmth that exceeds the limits of sovereignty,” Batra added. PTI