Forthcoming Modi Visit Galvanizes Indo-Americans

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, participating in the Shlanyas of B.A.P.S. Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston in the year 2000.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, participating in the Shlanyas of B.A.P.S. Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston in the year 2000.

By Haider Kazim

20,000 to attend community reception in New York

HOUSTON: The Indo-American community in Houston is enthusiastically looking forward to the forthcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hear him spell out his plans for development of his country and provide a new impetus to growth of India-US ties.

The visit, from September 27 to 30, has created such an enthusiasm that a large group of Houston community leaders will be traveling to New York to participate in the community reception to the prime minister on September 28, the largest ever such reception to an Indian prime minister in the United States.

“The visit will open a new chapter in the Indo-American relations because he has won a very clear mandate in the last 30 years on a development and governance agenda,” said Ramesh Bhutada, a prominent businessman who worked tirelessly in building an overseas wave for Modi during the election campaign.
“The whole world is watching Modi after his decisive victory and we are excited to hear his plans,” said India House President Jugal Malani who will be traveling to New York to attend the community reception and other meetings.

Some 20,000 people are expected to take part in the community reception at Madison Square Garden, one of the world’s most famous indoor arena, located in midtown Manhattan. The tickets of the reception, which is free of charge, were booked early and the remaining seats had to be allocated to winners of a lottery from among thousands of applicants.

The Houstonians who are not able to go to New York will watch Prime Minister Modi’s speech live at India House. The program is jointly sponsored by India House Inc. and the India Culture Center-Houston.

Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to arrive in New York on September 27 for the annual session of the UN General Assembly. He will travel to Washington on September 29 where the US Administration is gearing up for a red carpet reception. Obama is expected to host a small working dinner for him on September 29, rarely given to a visiting foreign leader. The two leaders will then meet for substantive talks on September 30 at the White House.
As many as 26 meetings are reportedly planned for the prime minister during the three-day visit.
Miss America Nina Davuluri, the first person of Indian origin to win the crown and popular news anchor Hari Sreenivasan will be the hosts at the community reception, organized by the Indo-American Community Foundation.

Sugar Land City Council member Harish Jajoo described Prime Minister Modi’s visit as historic. “For first time there is a renewed optimism of hope and opportunity in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. As an Indo- American, I am very excited to travel to New York and be part of this historic event on September 28. I cannot wait to feel the energy inside Madison Square Garden that morning.”

Stafford City Council member Ken Mathew praised the development work Modi had done in Gujarat while he was the state’s chief minister. “We need this kind of leadership in India for the development of the country.” Mathew regretted the years India had missed in development by keeping its doors closed to foreign investments while China profited from it.

“The US can play a very meaningful role in India’s development agenda which would be mutually beneficial,” Ramesh Bhutada said. “Also, India and the US can find a common ground to work together to fight the menace of terrorism that exists at the global level.”

Jugal Malani said “Prime Minister Modi’s visit will take the India-US relations to the next level as it is imperative for the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy to work together to meet new global challenges.”
The younger generation is equally enthusiastic.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing Prime Minister Modi speak, said Kavita Pallod, a youth leader who will be going to New York with her family. “ I’ve been really impressed thus far by what he has been prioritizing, such as hygiene and sanitation and women’s empowerment through holding men accountable. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to hear his next call to action in person.”