Authorities here on Friday geared up for U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the national Capital on Sunday, fine-tuning an elaborate security apparatus and holding consultations with their American counterparts.
Mr. Obama, who reaches the capital on Sunday afternoon, will have a busy schedule ranging from his visit to Humayun’s Tomb to Rajghat, meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and an address to Parliament before he leaves on Tuesday.
Communications set-up, nuclear button, a fleet of Limousine and majority of the White House staff will be in India accompanying the President on this three-day visit beginning Saturday that will cover Mumbai and Delhi.
The ITC Maurya Sheraton where the President is staying has been made out of bounds for the public with Indian and U.S. security agencies taking over the building, a senior official said.
“We have sanitised the hotel. Snipers will be deployed on rooftops on Mr. Obama’s route. We have a foolproof arrangement for the U.S. President,” the official said.
Around 2,000 police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed in and around the hotel which had earlier hosted U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W. Bush in 2006 besides U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year.
Proximity security to Mr. Obama will be given by his guards while the other cordons will be manned by personnel from Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel as also men from the elite National Security Guards (NSG).
As part of the security measures, the official said, the ridge area opposite the hotel has been lighted up while personnel from Indian and U.S. agencies have checked the manholes on the routes Mr. Obama is taking.
U.S. security agencies have already reviewed the security arrangements in Parliament — where Mr. Obama will deliver an address on Monday — with other agencies in the country.
Security concerns have forced authorities to disable the “virtual tour” of Hotel Maurya Sheraton. The management has disabled the “online virtual tour” section in the Delhi hotel website, officials said. The tour enables a client to view facilities provided by the hotel as well as the layout of the rooms.
“Authorities are taking no chance with security measures and we are doing whatever is needed,” the police official said.
Security agencies are also ensuring fool-proof security for U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama as she is expected to have her own programme during the visit. She is expected to visit some places and attend programmes in the city.
Keywords: Obama visit