Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to an audience of 50,000 or more today at NRG Stadium for the Howdy, Modi! rally in Houston, Texas. President Donald Trump also accompanied him and spoke for about 30 minutes during the rally. Read on to see highlights and photos.
Modi spoke at a festive event that featured thousands of volunteers, 400 singers and dancers, The Houston Chronicle reported. NRG Stadium was chosen for the event because it was the biggest venue in the area.
During the Event, Modi Invited Trump & His Family to Come to India
The event included a 90-minute cultural program called “Woven: The Indian-American Story.” After that, the Prime Minister and Trump both spoke.
While Trump spoke, he asked Modi if he would invite Trump to visit India and watch the first basketball game that the NBA was organizing there, NDTV reported. “Don’t be surprised; I may come,” Trump said in his speech.
Modi responded: “You may be far from the country, but the country’s government is not far from you. Mr. President, I invite you to come to India with your family.”
The two were very complimentary of each other. Modi said: “While he calls me a top negotiator, he is a master of the Art of the Deal.”
Modi’s event marked the start of a week-long visit to the United States. Modi and Trump were expected to meet and talk about trade deals after the event.
Also speaking or attending were Indian origin congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Sen. Ted Cruz, Representatives Al Green and Sheila Jackson, and Texas governor Greg Abbott, Quartz India reported.
The event was free to attend but tickets quickly sold out. Registrations hit 50,000 on August 21, but university students were able to still enroll, Quartz India reported, until it hit 72,000 capacity. More than 5,000 people were on a waiting list, the Houston Chronicle reported. So the actual attendance was somewhere between 50,000 and 72,000.
This event was expected to be the largest ever for an Indian Prime Minister in North America, and possibly the largest for a foreign leader in the U.S. besides Pope Francis, the Press Free Journal reported.
You can rewatch the entire event below.
Here are some more photos from the event today:
Despite previous trade talks not going well, Trump and Modi seemed to get along very well during the rally today.
Ted Cruz was also there, along with other politicians.
The crowd was exuberant.
There was a cultural program before Modi and Trump spoke, featuring hundreds of dancers.
Sen. Ted Cruz spoke at the rally today.
More than 50,000 were at the rally, which sold out quickly when the free tickets were made available.
There were protesters at the rally also. Modi was elected prime minister in 2014 and some say he helped modernize India’s economy. Others say that his government harmed human rights and freedoms, Chron.com reported. Thousands of protesters were outside the event while the rally went on inside. “Go back Modi,” some chanted.
A press release for the event read: “The Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures Community Summit attendees represent 48 states, coming together to emphasize the shared values and aspirations of two great nations whose partnership is important to global peace, prosperity, and human progress. This unique event brings together the President of the world’s most influential democracy, the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, and a bipartisan delegation of Governors, Members of Congress, Mayors, and other public officials.”
The event was hosted by the Texas India Forum and was broadcast in Hindi, English, and Spanish.