Indian fans create security headache as Modi lands in NY
27 September 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in New York on Friday to a tumultuous welcome that would have warmed the heart of any popular leader.
Though the crowd at the airport mainly comprised Indian emigrants, it was probably larger and more boisterous than any other visiting head of state would experience. The crowd chanted slogans like "har har, Modi", while holding up flattering placards.
Security was thrown into a state of confusion as Modi waded into the cheering crowds. He later tweeted, ''A big thank you for the warm welcome in New York! Deeply touched. Looking forward to a great trip ahead.''
Modi met the Mayor of New York County, and discussed city policing as well as optimisation of urban space.
Modi was attired in an apparently new dark maroon bandh-gala suit.
A large group of Indians also gathered near the New York hotel where he is to stay, again chanting his name lustily.
He was received on arrival by Ambassador S Jaishankar and other Indian officials along with US protocol officers.
Modi later met New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. He has a tight schedule ahead of him with nearly 25 events planned in New York and in Washington for him.
The highlight of Modi's visit is a community reception organised at the Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday.
About 18,500 people have been issued tickets to attend the event and several thousand more are expected to watch the reception on TV relays at Times Square and in over 40 other venues at universities and other places.
Modi will address the UN General Assembly today and hold a round of neighbourhood diplomacy, meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and Sushil Koirala of Nepal, and President Mahenda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka.
The day will start with a visit to the 9/11 site, also known as Ground Zero, where he will pay respects to the victims of perhaps the worst-ever terrorist attack the world has seen, which claimed more than 3,000 lives. The visit will underscore the common threats that are faced by India and the US from terrorists.
Pushing forward his 'Make in India' programme to solicit investment and technology, he will meet more than 15 top executives of major US companies on Monday.
In a sign of the growing influence of the Indian-origin denizens of the US, one of the politicians he will meet is South Carolina's Republican Governor Nikki Haley, who is of Indian origin.
Modi's schedule includes meetings with Jewish and Sikh community leaders and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who now heads his own information service company and runs several charities, and former president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, the latter a potential US presidential candidate.
Despite all the dinners, breakfasts and lunches set up for him, Modi – whose adherence to Hindu traditions is well-known– will observe his nine-day Navaratri fast.