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Trump praises Indian PM Modi's economic reforms in Houston rally

By Daniel Uria
Trump praises Indian PM Modi's economic reforms in Houston rally
President Donald Trump appeared alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally in Houston on Sunday. Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic reforms as they appeared together at a rally in Texas on Sunday.

The "Howdy, Modi" event at Houston's NRG Stadium drew an estimated 50,000 attendees as the two world leaders addressed the crowd while demonstrators outside condemned Modi for endangering religious freedom and other human rights.

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"Prime Minister Modi and I have come to Houston to celebrate everything that unites America and India, our shared dreams and bright futures," Trump said. "Also come to express my profound gratitude to the nearly 4 million amazing Indians all across our country. You enrich our culture. You uphold our values. You uplift our communities and you are truly proud to be American and we are proud to have you as Americans."

Trump also said that Modi has been doing "a truly exceptional job for India and for all of the Indian people" highlighting his economic reforms which he said have brought more than 3 million people out of poverty.

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"In both India and the United States, we're seeing something remarkable," Trump said. "Our people are prospering like never before because we are slashing bureaucracy and cutting red tape."

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As many as 10,000 demonstrators gathered outside the event as interfaith human rights group Justice for All organized a protest due to ethnic violence and other human rights abuses in India under Modi's leadership.

Demonstrators said the event should never have been allowed to happen, pointing to Modi's crackdown on Kashmir a largely Muslim territory between India and Pakistan.

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Demonstrator Amrit Pal Singh said he hopes world leaders including Trump should "speak up for India's minority people" and scrutinize Modi's actions.

"They're just saying, 'One people, one nation, one language,' and that's not right," Singh said of Modi's government. "Because it's a diverse world and everyone should be equal."

All 50,000 tickets for the event, which included a cultural program inside the football stadium, were claimed before Trump announced he would attend.

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Around 150,000 Indian American live in Houston, which has a population of 2.3 million, according to the U.S. Census in 2018.

Nationwide, Trump's job approval with Indian Americans was 28 percent in 2018, according to the Asian American Voter Survey.

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