AHMEDABAD: In September 2019, over 50,000 people attended the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, where PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump joined hands and greeted the Indian diaspora present. On February 24, the event will have a repeat at a larger scale.
But what would it mean for the sizeable Non-Resident Indian (NRI) population in the US with a significant population of Gujarati-origin Americans?
Sources put the number of expected attendees from the Indian-American community at about 200, excluding the official invitees from American or Indian governments.
Ramesh Patel, chairman of Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), said that the US has about 2.1% population of persons from India. “With elections this year, the president would also like to woo the Indian voters and the event will be a significant gesture. While I personally don’t see major policy changes immediately, it’s a clear message to the world about bilateral friendship especially when India faces threat from neighbours,” he said.
Modi had participated in a Madison Square event in 2014 and received backing from the NRIs including those from Gujarat during his maiden PM run. C K Patel, former leader of the Indian diaspora in the US, and president of Ahmedabad-based Vishwa Gujarati Samaj, said: “We have come a long way from the time when Narendrabhai was denied a visa by the US to his home state hosting the mega event.”
Trump to land at 11.55am, leave at 3.30pm
Top sources in the police department have informed that US President Donald Trump’s Air Force One is expected to land at Ahmedabad airport at about 11.55am on February 24. He will be received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries at the airport.
Trump will take Airport Road to visit Sabarmati Ashram, where he will stay for about 25 minutes. “From there, he will proceed towards Motera stadium at about 1.15pm. After inaugurating the stadium and addressing the gathering, Trump and Modi will leave for the airport. He is expected to depart for Delhi at around 3.30pm,” said a senior police official.
Top police sources said around 250 delegates and security officials are expected to accompany Trump on his Gujarat visit. “Along with the US secret service officials, city police force, National Security Guard (NSG) and officials of special protection group (SPG) will be deployed at strategic locations along the route and at Ashram and the stadium. All entry and exit routes to the city will be barricaded. There will be a lockdown scheme in place to close all identified entry and exit points in the stadium, including those hidden to the public, on a moment’s notice,” said a senior police official. Separate entries at the stadium have been allocated for guests under three heads – Platinum, VVIP and Gold. Industrialists, eminent sportspersons and professionals from across India will attend the event.