Texas governor plays role in historic meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Pooja Lodhia Image
Thursday, March 29, 2018
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Gov. Greg Abbott received a warm welcome from the prime minister of India, marking the first time Narendra Modi has met a U.S. governor.

BANGALORE, India (KTRK) -- Texas Governor Greg Abbott met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for more than an hour, discussing several topics including national security, the oil and gas industry, and Hurricane Harvey.

"I was anticipating him shaking my hand, being cordial, saying, 'Thank you for being here, we appreciate Texas energy, have a nice day,'" the governor said.

PM Modi has been in office for four years. This was the first time he had met with a U.S. governor.

Governor Abbott said he and the prime minister sat side by side, while Mrs. Abbott, a senior U.S. diplomat and the governor's deputy chief of staff sat on a nearby couch. A translator was also present. There were three other people in the room, but the governor said he didn't know who they were.

Gov. Abbot said their conversation began with talk of Houston.

"It began with him expressing his concern about Hurricane Harvey and its effect but also the gratitude that he had for Texans doing such a great job of helping the Indian American community," said the governor.

PM Modi has been widely criticized for expresing Hindu Nationalist beliefs, but Gov. Abbot said he didn't bring up the topic.

"I'm not here to convey a message from the United States," said Gov. Abbott. "I'm speaking based upon my own level of information."

He said the two men also talked about defense from cyber-attacks and artificial intelligence.

"I agreed with him that future defense needs to be concerned with issues far more than just nuclear weapons," Abbott said. "Countries are going to have capabilities to destroy other countries or societies without having to martial a soldier or nuclear weapon."

Governor Abbott gave the PM a limestone bowl to represent Texas' oil and gas industry.

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Follow Pooja Lodhia as she continues to travel with Gov. Abbott on Facebook and Twitter.