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PM Modi departs for US; bilateral meetings, Howdy event on schedule

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday left for a seven-day (September 21 to 27) long visit to the United States to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York with an aim to boost bilateral ties.

The prime minister’s schedule includes multi-lateral engagements, interaction with the business community, bilateral meetings and also an address to the Indian diaspora at the “Howdy, Modi” event in Houston.

On the first day of his visit to the US, Modi will hold a round table meeting with the CEOs of the oil sector companies. PM Modi’s “Howdy, Modi” address will be followed by a luncheon meeting with elected officials and a community reception at NRG Stadium.

On September 23, he will attend the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit at the UN building. After the summit, Modi will hold a meeting on Universal Health Coverage. “At the Climate Action Summit on September 23, I will highlight India’s robust action to address climate change in line with global goals and our international commitments,” Modi said in his departure statement.

Modi will also be addressing the UNGA in New York and meet other world leaders on the side-lines of the event. After his address, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with leaders of multiple countries. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is also expected to meet President Trump on the side-lines of the event.

Modi acknowledged the presence of US President Donald Trump at the Houston event, a new milestone as this would be the first time a US President is attending an Indian-American community event with him, Modi said.

“Both the meetings with the leaders of India and Pakistan would be held in New York on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UNGA”, said a senior official.

The fact that India will not dwell on the Kashmir Valley issue was evident from Modi’s statement before his departure: “In New York, I will participate in various major events in the UN… This year, the 74th session of the UN General Assembly has the theme ‘Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion’. There are many pressing challenges for the international community — a still fragile global economy, turbulence and tension in many parts of the world, growth and spread of terrorism, climate change and the… challenge of poverty. They require stronger global commitment…”

At least 50,000 Indian-Americans are expected to participate in the mega “Howdy, Modi” event on Sunday.
India will also hold interactions with the leaders of the Pacific Island States, and leaders of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) group.

India will also celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi which will be attended by Modi. In a unique step, India has engaged the world leaders to speak on how their leadership has been positively marked by Gandhi’s influence.

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