Modi, Trump lavish praise on each other at ‘Howdy Modi!’ event at Houston

Prime Minster Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump showered praises on each other in their addresses at the ‘Howdy Modi!’ event in Houston attended by over 50,000 Indian-Americans at the NRG stadium.

While Modi, before his main address in Hindi, briefly spoke first, introducing President Donald Trump, the American president followed him returning the compliments before the visiting prime minster took the stage again for the main speech.

“This morning we have a very special person with us. He needs no introduction. His name is familiar to every person on the planet.From CEO to commander-in-chief, from boardroom to the Oval Office, from studios to global stage, from politics to the economy and to security, he has left a deep and lasting impact everywhere,” Modi said in English in his introductory remarks praising Trump.

“Today he is here with us. It is my honor and privilege to welcome here in this magnificent stadium and magnificent gathering,” Modi said. “I can say I had a chance to meet him often and every time I found the friendliness, warmth, energy, the President of the United States of America – Mr. Donald Trump.”

Modi dressed in a yellow kurta and jacket, told the audience amid shouting of slogans hailing him, that Trump’s name comes up in almost every conversation in the world on global politics and that his every word is followed by tens of millions.

“He was a household name and very popular even before he won to occupy the highest office in this great country,” Modi said. A smiling president dressed in light blue suit and standing next to him on the stage seemed to enjoy the compliments.

“We in India have connected well with President Trump. The words of candidate Trump – “Abki Baar Trump Sarkar” – rang loud and clear and his celebration in the White House lit up millions of faces with joy and appreciation,” Modi said, alluding to his own election slogan borrowed by Trump’s Indian-American supporters during the 2016 election.

“When I met him for the first time, he said to me, ‘India has true friend in White House.’ Your presence here today is great testimony to that,” Modi said.

Modi and Trump clasped hands as they took the stage to a mix of drumbeats and cheers. Many spectators in the crowd wore white T-shirt with the words “Howdy, Modi.” Even after the show ended, Modi held Trump’s hand and seemed to be escorting himout of the venue in true Indian style of taking care of a guest, followed of course by the Secret Service

Trump returned Modi’s compliments, telling him that he is glad to be in Houston with “one of America's greatest and most loyal friends, Prime Minster Narendra Modi of India. “Prime Minster Modi is doing a truly exceptional job in India and all of the Indian people. It is my privilege to be with him at this profoundly historic event,” Trump said.

The president said he is deeply grateful to be joined by over 50,000 “incredible members of nation's thriving, flourishing and hard-working Indian-American community, amid thunderous applause. Trump also congratulated Modi for his massive election victory earlier this year.

After his brief laudatory remarks about Modi, the president came down from the podium to sit in a special enclosure on the front alongside a dozen-odd U.S. Senators and Congressmen to listen to Modi’s address.

“Mr. President, you had introduced me to your family in 2017 and today I have the honor to introduce you to my family, over a billion Indians and people of Indian heritage around the globe,” Modi said in his remarks, drawing a standing ovation. “Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my friend, a friend of India, a great American President Mr. Donald Trump.”

When Trump spoke, Modi came down from the podium and sat next to External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Indian Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla to listen to his friend.

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