Narendra Modi, Modi US Visit, Howdy Modi, Indian culture, Donald Trump, Modi Houston, Modi in Houston

New Delhi: Houston was readying on Sunday to host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the largest ever Indian community event held in the US with a record 50,000 people in attendance.

This is Modi’s third engagement in Houston, which is home to a significant number of 3.5-million-plus Indian Americans, after his arrival here on Saturday.

The visit began with India’s state-run Petronet LNG Ltd signing a pact to negotiate sourcing of around 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) liquefied natural gas (LNG) from US developer Tellurian Inc’s Driftwood project in Louisiana. Soon after, Modi met members of Sikh, Dawoodi Bohra and Kashmiri Pandit communities based in the US, the prime minister’s Twitter handle said.

Sunday’s three hour event – christened “Howdy Modi" – will showcase Indian cultural programme besides the address by the prime minister. Modi will be joined by US President Donald Trump who is also to scheduled to speak at the event, besides an array of US lawmakers — a rare gesture seen as a tribute to the Indian-American and Indian communities.

The cultural programme titled “Woven: The Indian-American Story" is to showcase the contributions the Indian-Americans have made in the US, news reports said. The cultural show is expected to have nearly 400 performers and community members from Texas and across the US, with some 27 groups performing at the event, one of the news reports said. It has been organised by the Texas India Forum (TIF) and will take place at the NRG stadium that hosts the Super Bowl – i.e. an annual championship game of the National Football League in the US — with volunteers working round the clock over the past few days to ensure that the event is a major success, according to video clips posted on Twitter.

This is Modi’s third engagement with the Indian diaspora in the US – the previous ones in 2014 and 2015 at New York’s Madison Square Garden and the SAP Center at San Jose, California respectively. The previous two events had seen some 20,000 people attend them.

“This one where we are expecting over 50 thousand people from the diaspora will be the largest that he has done in the United States and we are delighted that President Trump of United States as well as the senior democratic leadership of the United States will also be at this event," foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday. “This includes several elected Congressional representatives from both parties and I think their presence there reflects the high standing and influence of the diaspora in the United States and the bipartisan support that Indo-US relation enjoys in the political leadership of the United States," he had then said.

TIF spokesperson Gitesh Desai was quoted as saying that more than 100 buses are being provided to ferry the participants. Large billboards been up for many days across Houston announcing the event.

After the “Howdy Modi" event, the prime minister will meet members of the US Congress who were present at the event before departing for New York on the second leg of his visit.

You can watch the live updates of the 'Howdy Modi' event here.