Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech at the 'Howdy, Modi!' event in Houston on Sunday was met with cheers of 50,000 Indian-Americans at the NRG stadium. The celebration did not end there as thousands expressed their delight on social media.
The Indian Prime Minister thanked US President Donald Trump's participation in the event on Monday and called it a "watershed" moment in bilateral relations between US and India.
Modi described the event as "lively, showcasing the special features of Indian culture and accomplishments of the Indian diaspora" and expressed "moments from Houston that will always remain a part of my memory."
Dear @POTUS @realDonaldTrump, your presence at #HowdyModi in Houston was a watershed moment in India-USA ties.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 23, 2019
Since assuming office, you have been a steadfast friend of India and the Indian community.
Your presence indicates your respect towards India and the Indian diaspora. pic.twitter.com/iGHjT6Tp5a
Trump had called the gathering a "profoundly historic event" and appealed to the Indian diasporic audience. "You uphold our values, you uplift our communities and you are truly proud to be American and we are truly proud to have you as Americans," he said.
His attendance in the event and close ties with Narendra Modi during the ongoing 2020 US presidential campaign have been seen as a way of engaging the Indian community, which is known to have voted against him in the 2016 US elections.
Modi even pitched in for Trump a popular slogan used in his 2014 campaign: "Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar."
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma criticised the slogan, accusing Modi of violating the "time-honoured principle of Indian foreign policy of not interfering in the domestic elections of another country." "This is a singular disservice to the long-term strategic interests of India," he added.
User Ashok Swain, who is also a professor of peace and conflict at Uppsala University in Sweden, pointed out on Twitter that Modi's campaign for Trump's re-elecion is "Dangerous for India's national interest as Trump is likely to lose in 2020. Poll of Polls this week puts Trump's approval rating is 42.4% while 53.6% American voters disapprove him."
Union ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah and Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, lauded the successful event by evoking strength in Modi's leadership and presence internationally.
The message to the world is loud and clear that this #NewIndia will leave no stone unturned to keep our country safe and united.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) September 22, 2019
Thanks to PM @narendramodi ji’s leadership, entire world today stands firmly with India in its decisive fight against the menace of terrorism. pic.twitter.com/YkfG7Yozu4
Jaishankar recalled Modi's previous speech in New York's Maddison Square in 2014 and said the Houston event raised the "tradition to new level".
A great day in Houston with #HowdyModi— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) September 22, 2019
Raising the Madison Square Garden tradition to new levels.
Sincerest appreciation for the enormous effort of countless voluteeers. Thank you Team TIF, Team @IndianEmbassyUS & @cgihou pic.twitter.com/mE27y3eCZq
GOP Representative of Houston Pete Olson called it the "strongest display of unbreakable bonds between two nations".
#HowdyModi ended w/ the strongest display of unbreakable bonds between 2 nations I’ve ever seen. President Trump & Prime Minister Modi walking hand-in-hand around @NRG. America & India will be the driving force for global peace & freedom in 21st Century! @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/bMYB5mcreZ— Rep. Pete Olson (@RepPeteOlson) September 22, 2019
Many politicians from the US like Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, David Vance and Indian leaders called the event a huge success for the strong response from the audience.
#HowdyModi event ended with display of strongest bond between world’s largest democracies.— Pema Khandu (@PemaKhanduBJP) September 23, 2019
No longer a pushover, India's image in the global stage has totally changed and counted today in the top of the league of nations.
Thanks PM Modi for making it possible... pic.twitter.com/KgdqXH7JkO