New Delhi, July 26(IANS) - President Pranab Mukherjee will on Monday commence a two-day visit…
New Delhi, Uday Mohite(DNA): At least 10,000 paramilitary troopers will join the 80,000-strong Delhi police to ensure fool-proof security in and around Rajpath where the main Republic Day function will be held. Unlike in previous years, access to Rajpath has already been closed while roads criss-crossing Rajpath like Rafi Marg, Janpath and Man Singh Road will be shut for general public a day or two before January 26.
Even as the itinerary of US President Barack Obama is still being worked out, the US Secret Service agents were in tizzy trying to work out another technicality: protocols do not allow the POTUS to sit in the open for full two hours to watch the Republic Day celebrations in the sprawling India Gate lawns. Conceding that the issue did crop up during conversations between the security agencies of two countries, who are finalising plans for Obama’s protection in Delhi, an official here confided that the idea of raising a bullet proof enclosure around Obama and his host President Pranab Mukherjee was raised, but did not find favours with Rashtrapati Bhawan. However, both sides are considering erecting a transparent bullet proof wall, which doesn’t look like an enclosure. Indian officials were still convincing the US security managers to allow Obama to travel in the Indian President’s limousine for arriving on Rajpath. An advance liaison team of the US secret service over past few days held several rounds of meetings with their Indian counterparts. They will meet again on Friday when the final itinerary will be laid down.
Nearly 450 Secret Service agents are scheduled to accompany Obama during his visit. Even though no official was ready to come on record, it is now understood that the POTUS will sit out in the open for around two hours at the Republic Day function, the longest duration in recent history, in acceptance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to be the chief guest at the annual Republic Day parade on January 26.
Explaining the scale of security taken for Obama when he is abroad, a security official said six planes load of equipment, vehicles, oil tankers, choppers and 1,600 American personnel were air dashed to Myanmar in November when the US President had attended the East Asia Summit there. Even the fuel used by the President’s cavalcade was brought by an American Navy ship to a port in Myanmar from where it was transported to capital Nay Pyi Taw through a US oil tanker with full security.
At least 10,000 paramilitary troopers will join the 80,000-strong Delhi police to ensure fool-proof security in and around Rajpath where the main Republic Day function will be held. Unlike in previous years, access to Rajpath has already been closed while roads criss-crossing Rajpath like Rafi Marg, Janpath and Man Singh Road will be shut for general public a day or two before January 26.
“The roads leading to and from the hotel will be closed down from January 20 onwards,” said a source in the police. Presently the hotel has been hosting a team of 400 people from the President’s team, and an entire floor housing the Presidential suite has been locked down.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who met Indian leaders in Ahmedabad to prepare the agenda for the Obama visit, said his country was planning to finance clean energy projects in India. Both countries are working on a $1 billion joint import-export bank too. He also indicated that Americans were eying to capture substantial business in India’s defence and energy sector. He said that Indian investment in the US has grown from $300 million (about Rs 1,860 crore) to $9 billion (about Rs 55,800 crore) and American investment in India has grown from $2.4 billion (about Rs 14,880 crore) to $28 billion (about Rs 173,600 crore).
The President will stay at the Presidential Suite, which takes up an entire floor, had a food-testing lab, a summit lounge, a conference room, and its own entrance with a high-speed elevator. The President’s cavalcade will have 30 cars and many air crafts, including Air Force One.
This will be Obama’s second visit to India, and like the last time he has expressed a desire to dine at Maurya’s signature restaurant Bukhara. The restaurant has hosted the Clintons, George W Bush and Condoleeza Rice in the past. They had even designed a Clinton platter and an Obama platter.