US President Donald Trump has said that he may make an announcement at the mega "Howdy Modi! event in Houston on Sunday when he would join Prime Minister Narendra Modi in addressing the 50,000-strong Indian diaspora.
The White House on Monday announced that Trump would join Modi at the Houston rally on September 22 as a "special gesture" by the US President to underscore the special bond between the two countries.
It is for the first time that Trump and Modi would share a stage together. The event is the third meeting between the two leaders in three months, after the G-20 summit in Japan in June and the G-7 summit in France last month.
"Could be. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Modi," Trump told reporters on Wednesday aboard Air Force One on his way back from California to Washington DC while responding to a question if there would be any announcement when he goes to Houston for the rally.
Trump did not elaborate.
According to media reports, officials of the two countries are trying to finalise a trade deal before Prime Minister Modi and Trump meet in Houston.
Trade tensions between India and the US have been rising with Trump complaining that tariffs imposed by New Delhi on American products were "no longer acceptable".
The US in June terminated India's designation as beneficiary developing country under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme.
India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products including almonds and apples from June 5, after the Trump administration revoked its preferential trade privileges.
Reacting to a record number of 50,000 Indian-Americans registering for the Houston event, Trump said the crowd for the event has now become bigger after it was announced that he would be going there.
"He (Modi) has got a big crowd coming and I guess the crowd just got a lot bigger because they just announced he asked, would I go, and I will go," Trump said.
After the Houston event, Trump would travel to Ohio for an event with the visiting Australian Prime Minister.
Trump also said that he has a great relationship with both India and Pakistan. Trump is also expected to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session next week.
Modi will be visiting the US from September 21-27 for the annual session of the UNGA. It is his first US trip after winning a second term as prime minister in May.
Modi and Trump are again scheduled to meet next week in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA session.
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today