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Trump to attend Houston rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India

HOUSTON – President Donald Trump will attend a Houston rally next week featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.

The White House says Trump will use the "Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures" event to "emphasize the strong ties between the people of the United States and India" and reaffirm the two countries' strategic partnership.

The Texas India Forum is hosting the free summit at NRG Stadium to honor Prime Minister Modi. Spokesman Gitesh Desai said 50,000 people have registered for the event within three weeks.

“This is a historical event where the leader of the world’s oldest democracy and world’s largest democracies come together on one platform and address Indian diaspora,” Desai said. “This is huge. Historical. Humongous.”

Desai said the summit will highlight India’s contributions to Houston and America. 

“India is a big market,” he said. “For consumers of India this is the place to get connected for new technologies and new trades,”

The meeting comes amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir after last month the government in New Delhi stripped the disputed Himalayan region of its statehood and launched a crackdown. As a result, Modi’s visit has attracted protestors. 

“The Indian government has taken illegal control of the state of Kashmir which is an internationally recognized disputed region just like they have taken over the state of Punjab in 1984,” said Gurpatwant Pannun, a legal advisor for Sikhs For Justice.

Last Saturday, Seikhs For Justice protestors drove 18-wheeler trucks, lined with banners ousting Modi, from the Sekh National Center in Houston to NRG Stadium. The protestors plan to return to NRG Stadium Sunday to boycott the rally, which starts at 9:30 a.m.

“If President Trump stands with Modi that will be condoning the acts of violence, the acts of civil rights violations and what is happening to the people of Kashmir,” Pannu said.

The White House says Trump will also travel to Wapakoneta, Ohio to join Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to visit an Australian-owned manufacturing facility. Trump is hosting Morrison at the White House Friday for a state visit, including the second state dinner of his administration.