India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Houston, Texas to attend an Indian-American community summit hosted by the Texas India Forum (TIF) on Sunday September 22. According to a TIF statement released on August 20, over 50,000 people are expected to attend the sold-out ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event at Houston’s NRG stadium. Prime Minister Modi will arrive in Houston to meet leading business, political and community leaders as well as members of the IndianAmerican community, before traveling to New York to address the UN General Assembly on September 28.
“I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to Houston, home to one of the biggest and most vibrant Indian communities in the U.S.” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I know how much his visit means to not only the Indian diaspora in our city but throughout the region. This historic visit will strengthen the already robust bonds between Houston and India on trade, culture, and tourism – all of which benefit every Houstonian.”
The ‘Howdy, Modi’ event which is themed Shared Dreams, Bright Futures will feature a cultural program produced by MELA Arts Connect (New York), that showcases talented Indian-American performers. Jugal Malani, who chairs the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ organizing committee described the cultural program as “…a unique view on the Indian-American experience” that “promises to show the diversity of our community while being an engaging and entertaining performance”.
The program also will highlight contributions made by Indian-Americans across various industries, including technology, education, medicine, petroleum and energy. One key contributor is Dr. Durga Agarwal, the founding President of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston and the President and CEO of Piping Technology & Products Inc. Dr. Agarwal has sponsored a major award to the University of Houston that will increase the annual budget of the Engineering and Research division by $ 36 million.
“Indian-Americans today are not just educated, wealthy, and powerful individuals,” said Dr. Agarwal, “but a public service-driven community that is giving back to America, our adopted country, while keeping close ties with our homeland, India, serving both and contributing to both.” This is reflected in the growing trade between India and Houston which according to TIF, averaged $4.8 billion annually from 2009 to 2018and was valued at $7.2 billion in 2018. In 2019 (to date), India is Houston’s fourth-largest trading partner, behind Brazil, China, and Mexico*.
Bhavesh (Bob) Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell calls Houston “…one of the most diverse cities in America.” He highlighted its many advantages, including its central location and access to global trade routes, a trained and talented workforce, and a business-friendly regulatory environment which makes the region an ideal partner for business and commerce. “I’m personally proud of the vibrant and welcoming Indian community here and the work they do to strengthen the ties between our two great countries,” said Mr. Patel, “and we are honored to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this historic event.”
More than 1,000 volunteers and 650 Texas-based Welcome Partners helped organize the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event which is focused on celebrating and strengthening the ties between India and America.
Texas Senator John Cornyn, Co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, welcomed PM Modi to Houston on behalf of all Indian-Americans in Texas. “India continues to be key security and economic partner of the United States,” he said, “and I look forward to seeing that relationship strengthen with his visit to Texas.”
Texas India Forum (TIF) is a not-for-profit promoting cooperation between the United States and India.
*Source: WISERTrade, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Foreign Trade Division