When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the US in September for the Climate Action Summit convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he is expected to visit Houston to attend a massive Indian diaspora rally, according to a source familiar with the preliminary planning.
While his participation in the climate summit and thehigh-level General Assembly Debate was listed among his forthcoming foreigntravel plans soon after his election in May, the Houston meeting is still to beofficially announced.
A community source close to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)told IANS that the planning for the Houston rally was still in a preliminarystage with the date still to be determined and there has been an outreach todifferent community groups about participating in it
The source added that it was not to be a party affair andwould be organised by groups representing a cross-section of the diaspora inTexas to show his broad appeal to the Indian community in the US.
According to the 2010 census, Texas was the state with thefourth-highest number of people of Indian descent. The Pew Research Centreestimated that in 2015 there were 125,000 Indian Americans in Houston, wherethe Indian consulate is located, and 145,000 in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Always looking for opportunities to connect with Indiandiaspora during his travels abroad, Modi has participated in three largecommunity meetings – in New York, San Jose and Washington – during his previousvisits.
The Climate Action Summit called by Guterres will take placeon September 23, followed the next day by the high-level segment of theAssembly that lasts a week.
Therefore, Modi's visit to Houston will have to take placeeither before the UN events in New York or after he has spoken at the generaldebate.
The UN says the climate summit is to "showcase a leapin collective national political ambition and it will demonstrate massivemovements in the real economy in support of the agenda".
Modi can expect a star role at the climate meeting as he hasbeen repeatedly praised by Guterres for his work and future plans to fightclimate change. Last year, Guterres presented him with the UN Champions of theEarth Award for Policy Leadership.
During the UN meetings, Modi will have an opportunity tomeet several leaders.
US President Donald Trump and Modi are likely to meet on thesidelines General Assembly meeting as it is not certain if the former wouldattend the summit.
Modi's visit this year will be the sixth to the US as PrimeMinister.
He visited in 2014 for the UN session and addressed acommunity meeting of 20,000 people at the Madison Square Garden in New York. Healso met then-President Barack Obama in Washington.
The following year, he attended the General Assembly sessionin New York and visited the Silicon Valley in California. Besides addressing adiaspora meeting of 20,000 people, he participated in an interaction withFacebook staff moderated by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company headquarters,and also visited Google headquarters.
Modi visited Washington twice in 2016. He attended theInternational Nuclear Security Summit convened by Obama on March 31 and April1, and made an official state visit at the invitation of Obama. He addressed aJoint Session of Congress and participated in a community meeting.
In 2017, President Donald Trump invited him for an officialstate visit to Washington which took place in June.As during his previous visits, a combination ofself-proclaimed liberals and secularists, and Kashmiri and Khalistaniseparatists along with Pakistanis can be expected to hold protests againstModi.