New Delhi: For his previous two addresses in the United States, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose Maddison Square, New York — a global power city, and Silicon Valley, San Francisco — the tech hub. It is of little surprise that the third on the line is Texas — a rich resource of oil and natural gases, given that India is among the biggest importers of oil and natural gases. It’s also the third-largest oil-consuming nation. Modi’s meeting with the CEOs of the leading energy companies proves why Modi chose Houston, Texas.

But there are more reasons:

Economy

The economy of Texas is the second-largest in the United States. It has a gross state product of $1.645 trillion (2017), after California.

Houston most populous in Texas

The capital of Texas is Austin, but it’s noteworthy how Austin was given a short-shrift and coastal city, Houston, which is also the most populous city in the state, was chosen for a mega-event like this.

Indian Community

Texas, being one of the few areas in the US that is growing rapidly and creating jobs, attracts a substantial proportion of the roughly 65,000–80,000 Indians who go to America on an H-1B visa annually.

It is also home to around 1.3 lakh Indian-Americans who are contributing to the political and business landscape of the US. several Indian companies such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Reliance, Larsen and Toubro, and Welspun have made Houston the headquarters for some of their operations.

Critical to Trump’s 2020 election

According to a Reuters report, Houston is a rare Democratic stronghold in Republican-dominated Texas and serves as the economic anchor of a state that will be critical to Trump’s 2020 re-election. Polls show tepid support by Indian-American voters, some 75% of whom voted for his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in 2016.

J&K and Texas share similar stories

Till 1836, Texas was part of Mexico, making it a likely parallel to the history of J&K. After rebellion movements under the leadership of Samuel Houston (after whom Houston has been named), Texas was declared independent as the Republic of Texas.

Later, it completely merged into the United States as the 28th state of the nation. Like Pakistan, Mexico did not recognise the independence of Texas and went on to war in this matter.