As a brand, Howdy Modi, the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally scheduled this Sunday in Houston, US, is a class apart. It’s snappy, catchy and buzz-worthy. For an event expected to draw 50,000 attendees, mostly Americans of Indian origin, those two words seem set to capture the occasion’s zeitgeist. If Howdy Modi gets the sort of reception that his Madison Square Garden appearance in New York did five years ago, that Americanism may even join “yup", “dude" and “buddy" in the lexicon of millennials back home.

A special attendee will be US President Donald Trump, who has been signalling a desire to play India-Pak peacemaker. Kashmir, however, is only one of many things that he and Modi would have to talk about. Located in Texas, Houston has long been the hydrocarbon capital of the US, and oil has been on the boil this week, with Iran suspected of the weekend drone attack that disrupted Saudi Aramco’s supplies. If Trump wants a grand peace deal in West Asia, perhaps New Delhi could offer itself as a mediator between Tehran and Washington. Few other nations can claim to have good diplomatic ties with both.

My Reads Logout