US President Donald Trump's confirmed attendance at the upcoming 'Howdy, Modi!' event, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address Indian-Americans, represents 'personal chemistry and friendship', said Indian ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
"Two leaders addressing the 'Howdy Modi' event is historic and unprecedented. It reflects not only closeness and comfort levels in the relationship but also the personal chemistry and friendship between PM Modi and President Trump", Shringla told ANI.
The White House on Sunday confirmed that Trump will attend the 'Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures' event on September 22 at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
"It will be a great opportunity to emphasize the strong ties between the people of the United States 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," the statement said.
Steny Hoyer, the United States House Majority Leader and Representative of Maryland, will also address the Howdy Modi event.
The organiser, Texas India Forum (TIF), a Houston-based non-profit body, said that around 50,000 people have registered for the event.
Describing the event as a community summit that aims to emphasise the "shared values and aspirations of two great nations", a statement released by TIF said the Indo-US partnership is "important in global peace, prosperity and human progress".
The event will be broadcast live online and on television channels with a likely reach out to over a billion people across US and India. It is stated to garner the largest live audience ever in North America for an Indian Prime Minister and the largest crowd for a foreign leader in the US, apart from Pope Francis.
The summit will include the participation of Governors, Members of Congress, Mayors and other public officials from 48 states.
Around 60 lawmakers, including the first American-Hindu Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, and Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, are reported to attend the summit.
However, a California-based non-profit 'Organization for Minorities of India', citing sources within Gabbard's 2020 presidential campaign, on Sunday said the US congresswoman has refused an invitation to the Indian Prime Minister's event.
The report stated her decision was linked to an article published by The Caravan magazine last month, which accused Gabbard's campaign of being financially supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in exchange of restoring Modi's controversial reputation in the US.
Congressman Ro Khanna, describing the read as an "important article" stated, "It's the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians."
Important article. It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians. That is the vision of India my grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar fought for.— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) August 29, 2019
While some netizens claimed that the event is a moment of "pride" and a "historic milestone", others condemned it and stated that the event attempts to whitewash the atrocities in Kashmir and Assam.
Kashmiri Indian-American Seema Hakhu Kachru expressed a positive approach to the event as a means of reflecting upon the "growing US-India ties regarding trade and resolve to fight terrorism".
Another user, Arjun Sethi, a human rights lawyer, spoke about Indian government's latest decision of abrogating special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list that left out 19 lakh people as 'illegal immigrants' in Assam.
Sethi shared the news of the Howdy Modi event on Twitter and wrote, "When they cheer Modi, they cheer fascism. When they stand by his side, they whitewash his atrocities in Kashmir & Assam."
Ali Mohammed wrote about the implication of the NRC list and the ongoing construction to built India's first detention centre in Goalpara district, West Matia region in Assam.
The event will be Modi's first address to the Indian American community in 2019 after he was re-elected in May. He had previously addressed the community at the Madison Square Garden, New York, in 2014 and the Silicon Valley, California, in 2016 that drew large crowds of over 20,000 people.