- PM Modi in opening remarks said that a billion plus Indians and people of Indian heritage across the globe are his family and he wants to introduce them to President Trump, just like Trump had introduced his family to PM Modi back in 2017.
- In what is now being interpreted as a masterstroke by PM Modi, he exhibited in front of the US’s top administrative echelons and the world, the support he has for the Abrogation of Article 370 by getting the entire 50,000 strong crowd to cheer for the decision. India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir was thus conveyed to the world in a way no one would have imagined.
- Trump in his speech reiterated his commitment to eliminate ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ which earned a huge applause. Taking this to next level and to India’s advantage, PM Modi in his speech singled-out Pakistan as a terrorist nation, without even taking its name. Then, he made the audience give a standing ovation to President Trump for his ‘fight against terror’
- By asking President Trump to walk hand-in-hand around the stadium, PM Modi created a powerful image that may remain historic.
And it happened! The much-awaited historic moment Howdy, Modi unraveled at the sprawling NRG Stadium in Houston true to the spirit of its motto, ‘Shared Dreams, Bright Futures’. The magnitude of the event, both physically and in mindspace, had only grown ever since it was announced.
The Texas India Forum organised the event with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers. More than 50,000 Indian-American attendees from across the US have registered for the event and some 650 community organisations have become the community partner of the event.
Soon, President Donald Trump announced his participation in the event, the significance of which we have explained in our earlier article Howdy Modi, Why President Trump Understands This Phenomenon Better. Further, the US President had also said that there may be an announcement on the occasion.
In India, a mega rate cut was announced with regard to the corporate tax, which paved way for experts to predict that the time was just ripe for both the countries to cement their trade deals since India took the right step at the right time when US-China have entered into a trade tussle.
All such backgrounds had made the Howdy, Modi event a major talking point in the global discourse.
Now, with the event has unfolded itself magnificently, here are the key takeaways.
The Rousing Reception for PM Modi
Even before PM Modi took to microphone and President Trump was still to arrive, the way in which US senators queued up to welcome PM Modi on stage had set the tone and reflected the respect PM Modi commands.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 22, 2019
Prime Minister Modi in his opening remark praised the US President Donald Trump with many references to Trump’s personal traits. PM Modi said that Trump had grown from CEO to Commander in Chief, board room to Oval Office, and left a lasting impression everywhere. Praising Trump as friendly, accessible and full of wit he credited the US President for making America great again and US economy stronger.
India As Family
Apart from striking personal chord and using own personal charisma, the assertion of PM Modi that he was representing a billion plus strong population seemed as a strong card with someone as Trump who is arguably talks tough. PM Modi said, “Houston to Hyderabad, Boston to Bengaluru, Chicago to Shimla, New Jersey to New Delhi, people are witnessing this historic moment. You had introduced your family a couple of years ago. Now I have the privilege to introduce you to my family. Billions of Indians and people with Indian heritage across the globe.”
President Trump – Economy the Main Focus
President Trump in the very beginning of his address recognised the magnitude of PM Modi’s victory by saying 600 million people went to vote and that’s a huge number! Appreciating the hard work of Indian Americans, he said that he is proud of them.
To put it in a gist, President Trump expressed his wishes of having more trade with India, more export with India, partnership in defence and space.
In his effort to drew parallel between India and US and their shared interests, President Trump has made some interesting points and garnered applause as well. For example, appreciating PM Modi for taking out a large chunk of population out of poverty, he went on to vividly describe how he reshaped the American economy by reducing unemployment and strengthening economy. On the security front he said that securing borders is the prime concern for both India and US. His take on illegal immigrants also struck a chord with Indian-origin audience who may be aware of India’s efforts against illegal immigrants.
When Trump said “we have committed to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism” it attracted a huge round of applause.
PM Modi’s Turn – Showcased India’s Strength
PM Modi said that Modi alone is nothing but represents the strength of a billion plus people. So, the answer to Howdy, Modi is “everything is fine in India”. And he went on to say this phrase in various languages such as Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali etc. It was PM Modi’s way of showcasing India’s diversity in front of the US President and other important people in US administration.
PM Modi said that the number of voters who participated in Indian elections in 2019 is almost double the population of USA. Women voted in large numbers and youth participation was also huge. After six decades a majority government re-elected with more number of seats, he said.
New India’s Identity
He introduced New India’s identity by saying development is the most used word in nation’s discourse. India is challenging itself, changing itself. The mindset of nothing happens has changed. We are aiming high, achieving higher, he said. He highlighted the progress of rural sanitation that has reached 99 percent and the gas connection coverage from 55% to 95%. With statistics, he also highlighted the rapid progress in rural roads, bank accounts for common people. He said that the world has accepted that data is the new oil. India is the cheapest provider of data which helped to achieve digital India. Visa passport process, registration of new companies, income tax returns etc have been made simpler in India, he said.
Welfare and Farewell Together!
PM Modi said, India is giving farewell to open defecation, redundant laws and multi-level tax system. He highlighted the actions against shell companies, fake beneficiaries of welfare schemes and detailed how corruption is also getting a farewell.
His mention of India’s farewell to Article 370 got huge applause by audience and in a way, he made the US administration to understand how important it was for India to take that step in Jammu and Kashmir. He vividly explained how Jammu Kashmir is getting justice by the move.
By referring to Pakistan without taking its name, he reiterated that it is the soil that nurtures terror. By getting the crowd to standing ovation to President Trump in the fight against terrorism, he spectacularly attacked and isolated Pakistan.
Among many other pro-business steps India taken on PM Modi majorly mentioned the tax rate cut in corporate tax and conveyed that, just as President Trump claimed in his speech that the US economy has taken a new shape, India too has addressed the economy with a new approach.
Expressing optimism in arriving at positive outcomes with US in trade issues, PM Modi again gave a witty personal touch ahead of his talks with the US President when he said, “President Trump calls me a tough negotiator but he himself is an expert in the art of the deal. I am learning a lot from him”. The Art of the Deal is actually a book by Trump!
Nevertheless, many on social media have argued that PM Modi himself has offered a few learning points to US President, inviting him to walk hand in hand around the stadium thereby creating a defining image of coming together of world’s two powerful nations, the image that will be cherished by the generations to come.