New Delhi: The forthcoming community event between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US president Donald Trump is a great achievement of the Indian American community as the Indian diaspora is a key part of India’s foreign policy, external affairs minister Jaishankar said at a briefing here.
Speaking to reporters on the first 100 days of the Modi government’s second term in office, Jaishankar said the community meeting on 22 September in the US will be a crowning moment for Indian-Americans. He was speaking on the importance Indian diaspora has on the nation’s foreign policy and diplomacy. Trump and Modi will address over 50,000 Indian-Americans at the ‘Howdy Modi!’ mega event in Houston on 22 September.
Trump said late Monday a lot of progress has been made between India and Pakistan, without going into further details. “I will see Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I will be meeting with India and Pakistan. I think a lot of progress is being made there," Trump was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Earlier, White House said the event will be a “great opportunity to emphasize the strong ties between the people of the US and India, to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship," Mint reported on Tuesday.
“The diaspora is, of course, the forte and in many ways somewhat unique aspect of our foreign policy and that is underlined by what is going to be coming up very soon in the United States which is a big diaspora event in partnership with our Indian-American community," Jaishankar said.
The community meeting comes at a time trade tensions between India and the US have risen in recent months after the US withdrew preferential access for Indian products recently and India raised import tariffs on 28 American products. American companies have invested $23 billion in India between April 2000 and June 2019, accounting for 6% of the total FDI inflows into India in equities during the period, which is led by firms from Mauritius and Singapore.
The Houston meet will be the third meeting between Modi and Trump this year and the first time ever a sitting US president has attended an event organised by the Indian community in the US. The two leaders last met at the G7 summit in France in August and on the sidelines of the G20 meet in Osaka in June.
The summit, with the theme of “Shared Dreams, Bright Futures" will highlight the contributions of Indian-Americans in enriching the US for the last seven decades as well as the key role they have played in strengthening relations between the two nations.
Trump attending the Texas event is expected to send a strong signal of personal support to Modi at a time when several US lawmakers have expressed concerns about the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, which has gone on for over 40 days now. It will also serve to send a signal to Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan who is to attend the UN general Assembly session in New York with the aim of highlighting what he terms are human rights abuses in Kashmir.
The Houston meet also represents an opportunity for Trump to garner support from the Indian American community ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. Indian Americans and the Indian community have mostly been seen on the side of the Democrats though there have been people like Bobby Jindal, the former governor of Louisiana, who are members of the Republican Party. Some 84 % of Indian-Americans voted in 2016 for Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton, making them among the most Democratic-leaning ethnic groups, according to polling by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, AFP reported.