Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner yesterday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was humbled by the Indian leader’s choice to visit the city.
Turner said the contributions of the Indian diaspora are “huge” in the field of education, science and technology, medicine, culture and the “food is simply outstanding”.
India is the fourth largest trading partner with Houston.
“We are humbled by Prime Minister Modi’s choice to visit our great city, and welcome President Donald Trump,” he said.
Turner said 10 months ago he had led a trade delegation to India.
The mayor said the Modi’s visit to Houston was in recognition of the large Indian-American community and the city. He also welcomed the large Congressional delegation on stage for the event.
John Cornyn, US senator, addressing the gathering, said India was one of the most important partners of the US, and both sides were looking to take it forward through improved trade and defence ties.
House Majority leader Steny Hoyer also thanked the millions of Indian-Americans for their extraordinary contribution to America and for helping forge close ties between the two nations.
With Modi standing next to him, Hoyer said the people-to-people ties lie at the heart of the India-US relations.
“The people-to-people ties bring us even closer. Indian-Americans make extraordinary contribution to America. Thank you,” he said to the 50,000 crowd of Indian-Americans gathered for the event.
“You and millions of other Indian-Americans are the reason why so many Americans now look to India and see it not only as a friend but a trusted partner,” he said.
Recalling the words of Mahatma Gandhi, Hoyer said: “Something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong - that my friends is what the ideal of the American democracy and the Indian one are all about. Equal opportunity to dream and make the dreams come true.”
He said he was proud that India-US relations have remained bipartisan with both Democrats and Republicans taking efforts to take it forward.
He said President George W Bush strengthened the ties, President Barack Obama solidified them and President Donald Trump continues that.
Referring to the India-US Caucus, he said in the 25 years since it was set up, the US and India co-operate in every field and are working together in ways no one could have envisioned.
“I am proud of the Congress’ role in forging these closer ties,” he said.
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