'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston: PM slams 'countries supporting terror' in veiled attack on Pakistan; backs Donald Trump for second term

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India's decision to nullify Article 370 has caused trouble to those who cannot handle their own country

  • Making a strong pitch against terrorism at the 'Howdy, Modi' event, Modi targeted Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan

  • Modi also underscored his government's push for development in India, saying it is the most-discussed word in the country

Houston: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hit out at Pakistan for its support to terrorism and said that India's decision to nullify Article 370 has caused trouble to those who cannot handle their own country as he called for a decisive battle against terrorism. Making a strong pitch against terrorism at the 'Howdy, Modi' event in the presence of US president Donald Trump, who joined the mega event in a rare gesture of friendship, Modi asked crowd to give Trump a standing ovation, as he targeted Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan, without directly naming them.

"Article 370 encouraged terrorism and separatism in Jammu and Kashmir," he said, asserting that its nullification will allow development and prosperity in the region and end discrimination against women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. "Where do you find conspirators of 9/11 and 26/11 terror attacks?" Modi asked referring to terror attacks in the US and Mumbai and called for a "decisive battle" against terrorism.

He also asked people to give a standing ovation to Indian parliamentarians for their nod to revoking Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Modi also underscored his government's push for development in India, saying it is the "most-discussed" word in the country as his government is "aiming high and achieving higher".

 Howdy, Modi event in Houston: PM slams countries supporting terror in veiled attack on Pakistan; backs Donald Trump for second term

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US president Donald Trump share the stage at NRG stadium. PTI

Addressing a huge cheering crowd, which organisers said totalled over 50,000, Modi said the presence of such a big gathering is not confined to arithmetic and that people are seeing "new history and chemistry" being made. US president Donald Trump, in his address, vowed to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamist terrorism and said border security is vital to both America and India as he emphasised on bolstering further the India-US security relationship. Trump said the two countries will soon sign several defence deals to bolster their relationship.

"We are committed to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamist terrorism," the US president said. "India and US also understand that to keep our community safe, we must protect our borders. Border security is vital to the United States. Border security is vital to India. And we understand that," Trump said as  Modi was seen clapping. India accuses Pakistan of providing safe haven to the terror groups, which carry out attacks in the neighbouring countries.

"We are further taking unprecedented action to secure our southern border (with Mexico) and stop illegal immigration," Trump said, amid cheers. He said illegal immigration is unfair to legal immigrants who pay taxes and obey laws. During his nearly 25-minute speech, Trump praised Modi's economic reforms and said these reforms have lifted more than three million people out of poverty. "And that is an incredible number," he added.

"In both India and the US, we're seeing something remarkable: Our people are prospering like never before because we are slashing bureaucracy and cutting red tape," Trump said. He then praised his own administration's economic record, which he said includes 70,000 new Texas manufacturing jobs. "Unemployment in Texas is currently at the lowest rate ever recorded in the history of our country, and unemployment in the United States has just reached the lowest level in over 51 years," he said.

He said that over the last two years, unemployment among Indian-Americans dropped by one-third, Trump said. Noting that the US is the top producer of oil and natural gas on the planet, Trump said he was thrilled to hear about the Indian company's pledge to purchase up to 5 million tonnes of LNG a year from the US, which could lead to billions of dollars of LNG exports to India in the coming years." "India has never invested in the United States like it's doing today," Trump said, "and I want to say, it's reciprocal because we're doing the same in India."

Trump said that in November the US and India will demonstrate dramatic progress of their defence relationship, holding the first-ever trilateral-service military exercise between our nations: 'Tiger Triumph'. "Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and I have come to Houston to celebrate everything that defines the India-America relationship," Trump said. He described Modi as "a great man, a great leader and my friend."

The US president also praised the contributions of the Indian-Americans, saying they have enriched "our culture and uplifted our values." "We are proud to have them as Americans," he said. Earlier, the prime minister introduced Donald Trump to the Indian-Americans attending the event as a very "special person" who has left a deep and lasting impact everywhere. Modi said it was honour and privilege for him to welcome Trump in this magnificent stadium and magnificent gathering.

"Greetings to my fellow Indians in India and around the world. Friends, this morning, we have a very special person with us," Modi said. "He (Trump) was a household name even before he went to hold the highest seat in he US," Modi said while greeting the US president. "His name is familiar to every person on the planet. His name comes up almost every conversation in the world on global politics," he said. "From CEO to Commander in Chief, from boardrooms to the oval office, from studios to the global stage, from politics to the economy and to security, he has left a deep and lasting impact everywhere," Modi added.

Modi said he met Trump a few times and every time he has been warm, friendly, accessible, energetic and full of wit. "And I can say I had a chance to meet him often and every time I found the friendliness, the warmth and the energy," he said. "President, this morning in Houston, you can hear the heartbeat of this great partnership in this celebration of the world's two largest democracies," Modi said, addressing Trump. "You can feel the strength and depth of the bonds between our two nations."

The prime minister said "the people are at the heart of all relationships. From Houston to Hyderabad, from Boston to Bengaluru, from Chicago to Shimla, from Los Angeles to Ludhiana." Trump has already made the American economy strong again, Modi said. "He has achieved much for the US and for the world," Modi said. "We in India have connected well to him," he said, adding "Abki Baar Trump Saarkar" (this time it'll be Trump's government).

Updated Date: Sep 23, 2019 09:49:09 IST