Live Updates: India's Narendra Modi and Donald Trump visit Houston

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1:35 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Trump: "The relationship between the United States and India is stronger than ever before"

President Donald Trump took the stage at "Howdy, Modi!" following a speech from India's leader praising the relationship between both nations.

"You (India) have never had a better friend as President as President Donald Trump," Trump said at NRG Stadium Sunday afternoon. "Under PM Modi’s leadership, the world is witnessing a strong, sovereign republic of India."

1:26 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Modi on Trump: India has a true friend in the White House

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened his rally in Houston by praising President Donald Trump.

"Friends, as I told you, we have met a few times and every time he has been the same: warm, friendly, accessible, energetic and full of wit," Modi said.

Modi also commended Trump's administration for celebrating Diwali at the White House, and talked about the relationship between the United States and India.

"India has a true friend in the White House," Modi said.

The India leader also invoked Trump in his signature campaign slogan, "Ab ki baar, Modi sarkar," which translates to "This time, Modi government." On stage, Modi replaced his name with Trump's.

1:13 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Trump and Modi have taken the stage

President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have taken the stage.

The national anthems of both countries are being sung right now, and then both leaders will make remarks.

1:11 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Trump has arrived at the "Howdy, Modi!" rally

President Donald Trump has arrived at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, where the "Howdy, Modi!" rally is ongoing.

Trump was expected to speak at 12 p.m. ET, but the rally has been delayed over a briefing he was receiving on the flooding from Imelda.

Watch CNN's live stream here.

12:57 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation criticized over award for Modi

From CNN's Sara Spary

International human rights activists have slammed a decision by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to hand India's Prime Minister an award in recognition of his work to improve sanitation in the country.

The Global Gatekeeper award, due to be given to Narendra Modi on September 24 in New York, celebrates the country's Clean India program -- which has seen millions of toilets built as part of a drive to raise awareness of hygiene.

But a group of prominent South Asian Americans, who say they are "allies in philanthropy," have written an open letter criticizing the award and urging the foundation to withdraw it, citing concerns over his human rights record.

The following is an excerpt from that letter:

"The Gates Foundation’s decision to honor PM Modi seems to be in complete contrast with your own stated mission: 'we see equal value in all lives.' As you are well aware, under PM Modi’s leadership, religious minorities all across India are facing heightened levels of violence, exclusion, and discrimination. For over a month now, PM Modi has placed 8 million people in Jammu and Kashmir under house arrest, blocked communications and media coverage to the outside world, detained thousands of people including children, and denied basic benefits. Reports of torture, including beatings and the murder of a young child by Indian security officers, are emerging as well. In addition, the Indian government has begun to disenfranchise millions of residents, mainly Muslims, in the state of Assam," the letter, which was published on Medium, stated.

Across India and beyond there have been widespread concerns about an increase in violent Hindu nationalism and vigilantism against minority Muslims since Modi came to power in 2014.

Modi, whose Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party was sworn in for a second term in May following a landslide victory, has faced intense criticism over allegations of human rights violations.

In August, Modi's governments stripped the state of Jammu and Kashmir of its partial autonomy and downgraded its federal status, imposing strict restrictions on movement and suspending all communications, in a dramatic crackdown that essentially shut the disputed region off from the outside world. Limited communications have been restored since in some districts in the region.

12:40 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Modi leaves stage to wait for Trump's arrival

India's Prime Minister has exited the stage for now, and will be back later once President Donald Trump arrives.

Trump is at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, where he is getting briefed on the flooding in Texas. He'll head to the rally afterward.

As the crowd inside the arena waited, a fusion Indian spiritual and gospel choir sang to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Watch a video of the performance below and check out CNN's live stream here:

12:27 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Modi just walked out on stage in Houston

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just taken the stage at the "Howdy, Modi!" rally in Houston, Texas.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner awarded Modi the key to the city.

Watch the live stream here.

12:14 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Modi's complicated history with Kashmir

Analysis from CNN's Swati Gupta

Hindu nationalists in India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have long dreamed of stripping Indian-controlled Kashmir -- named Jammu and Kashmir state -- of its decades-old special status.

The special status gave the Muslim-majority state unique levels of autonomy, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly blamed it for poor economic growth and lack of investment in the territory.

"The people of Kashmir want freedom from the families who have occupied the region for 50 years," said Modi earlier this year, swiping at the political clans that have dominated the state's politics.

"The situation in Kashmir is such that the people there want change, whether it is over the issue of section 370 or section 35A," he added. Section 370 is the constitutional provision that guarantees Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

On August 5, Modi's government finally moved to revoke Article 370, in what analysts say is part of a Hindu nationalist agenda. Pakistan, which also claims Kashmir, described the move as illegal. It is not clear what happens next, though legal challenges are expected.

In the Indian parliament the same day, Modi's interior minister Amit Shah blamed Article 370 for preventing true democracy in the state.

"This section is discriminatory towards women, lower castes, tribals and is the source of terrorism," Shah claimed.
12:09 p.m. ET, September 22, 2019

Ted Cruz at rally: "Today is a celebration"

Sen. Ted Cruz took the stage at "Howdy, Modi!" Sunday in Houston to welcome India's Narendra Modi.

"Today is a celebration," Cruz said. "Our nations have interests that are intertwined. We share a history. We share cultures. We share language. We share values. India is the largest democracy on the face of the earth and America is proud to be your friend."