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Trump at Howdy Modi rally: India and U.S. must protect our borders

President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend "Howdy, Modi!" at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, September 22
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump attend the "Howdy, Modi!" rally at NRG Stadium in Houston Sunday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump declared in front of a 50,000-strong crowd at a Houston event honoring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "India and the United States understand that to keep our communities safe, we must protect our borders."

Why it matters: Trump's comments at the "Howdy Modi" rally that border security is "vital" to the U.S. and India come weeks after India sent thousands of troops to the Indian-administered Kashmir and erased the special status of the majority-Muslim state — escalating tensions with Pakistan in the disputed region.

  • As Bloomberg notes, Trump's remarks risk being perceived as supporting India over Pakistan's in a dispute that he's offered to help mediate, a proposal India rejected.

The big picture: Kashmir has been a source of conflict between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947 and is now effectively split between the countries.

  • Per Axios' Dave Lawler, "Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly compared India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Nazis and warned without evidence of an 'impending genocide' in Kashmir."
  • The Houston Chronicle notes 2 Kashmiri citizens are suing Modi in federal court in Texas for alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.

In photos: "Howdy Modi" rally

Protesters chant and wave flags outside after a rally attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at NRG Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
Protesters outside the Texas rally. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images
People listen as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the Community Summit on September 22
Modi's supporters inside the stadium. Photo: Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Texas Senator Ted Cruz at the Community Summit on September 22, 2019 at NRG Stadium in Houston
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with Modi. Photo: Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images
Dancers perform before India Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the Community Summit on September 22
Dancers perform at the stadium. Photo: Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images
Audience members listen to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Community Summit on September 22
Audience members listen to Modi at the event. Photo: Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images

Go deeper: Pakistan struggles to rally the world against India's Kashmir crackdown