The international media has lapped up Houston's "Howdy, Modi!” event in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump shared a stage, addressing a crowd of over 50,000 people. Most publishers focused on analysing the personal chemistry between the two leaders and its implications on the geo-politics, trade and the next year's US presidential elections.
German news agency
Deutsche Welle writes, “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not have hoped for a better start to his US trip” and the two leader’s “excellent personal relations” is “also expected to improve trade relations and further boost security ties between the US and India.” Trump, who is facing re-election next year, had his own reasons to address one of the wealthiest communities in the US, as he is “keen to win over the Indian community in Houston, a Democratic stronghold in the Republican-dominated Texas, a state that will be critical to the US leader in his 2020 reelection bid,” DW wrote. The New York Times article said, “President Trump played second fiddle on Sunday to Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, at a boisterous cultural rally in which the American president was technically just an invited guest.” The article also focused on highlighting the similarities between Modi and Trump, calling them as “two leaders with similar styles,” while adding that “both rose to power by embracing right-wing populism, portraying themselves as champions of the masses fighting against an entrenched establishment.”
In a separate
NYT Op-Ed piece, Roger Cohen also focused on the two leaders and wrote, “Trump and Modi are both forceful, media-savvy politicians. But they are not alike. Modi, a self-made man from a poor family, is measured, ascetic, not driven by impulse. Trump was born on third base. He’s erratic, guided by the devouring needs of his ego. I’d bet on Modi to transform India, all of it, including the newly integrated Kashmir region.”
Another American publication,
USA Today focused on highlighting the leadership style of both Modi and Trump. It said, “Trump spoke of shared values among the world’s two largest democracies, but it was hardly the only thing they had in common. Both are known for brash styles, contempt for the news media and a predilection for 280-character missives to huge followings on Twitter.”
BBC report on the Houston event said, “This rally has been called a win-win for both the leaders. For President Trump, it was a chance to court Indian-Americans for the 2020 presidential election race where Texas could emerge as a battleground state. For Mr Modi, a PR triumph and picture with the president of the United States may help him shrug off the criticism over his recent strong-arm polices at home.”
Another British publication,
The Guardian wrote, “The event had the feel of one of Trump’s campaign rallies, complete with a packed venue and a roaring crowd, and Trump treated it that way at times. He ticked off his accomplishments in office, highlighted a drop in the unemployment rate among Indian Americans and extolled their contributions to the US as he pitched for their vote in a Republican state Democrats have visions of winning next year.”
A report in Pakistan-based Dawn focused on protesters gathered outside the Houston event. An article on In a separate editorial, the newspaper also wrote that Pakistan being soft on jihadis hasn't helped the country's cause. The
Dawn's website wrote, "Hundreds of people belonging to various ethnicities came out to hold an "anti-Modi demonstration" outside NRG Stadium, where they called attention to the "racist Modi regime" and its ongoing human rights violations in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir." editorial wrote,"THE issue of Kashmir is an emotional one and dear to most Pakistanis. This is why successive governments in this country have given sustained diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle for rights against India. However, past adventurism, especially by non-state actors and self-proclaimed jihadis, has done more harm than good to the Kashmir cause, besides tarnishing Pakistan’s global reputation."