Delhi Police and other security agencies were making elaborate security arrangements for the visit of US President Barack Obama who would be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade here — but security details would be finalised only after the arrival of a US advance team Jan 3, officials said.
They said that over 300 US Secret Service agents are expected to be part of Obama’s security detail as he arrives in India Jan 25. The officials said Obama would be lodged at the ITC Maurya hotel during his stay in the capital. “Over 20 members of the advance detail of the US Secret Service, the federal law enforcement agency responsible for the protection of the US president, are expected to arrive in the capital Jan 13,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.
The official said that over 270 Secret Service agents are expected to come in the days leading to Obama’s arrival Jan 25. The official said that Obama was accompanied by 190 Secret Service agents in 2010. “We are yet to get the exact number of his security personnel, but we expect that the number will be over 300,” another official said. Officials said they have been communicating with US agencies regarding security arrangements but they were waiting for the arrival of US advance group.
The security arrangements are expected to be more challenging this time compared to 2010 as Obama would be seated in the open on Rajpath for the Republic Day parade for more than an hour. Sources said that Rajpath will be closed for public from Jan 24 evening and government offices in the vicinity of Raisina Hill will be closed from Jan 23 till the end of Obama’s visit.
Officials said that routes for Obama’s engagements during his two-day visit had been decided and these will be closely monitored by CCTV cameras. Security agencies have also worked on some alternate routes. They are also checking manholes and sewer lines on the routes likely to be taken by Obama.
Security has been beefed up at ITC Maurya and watch towers have been erected on the central ridge opposite the hotel. Lighting arrangements have also been made in the ridge area. Around 2,000 police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed in and around the hotel, which had hosted US president Bill Clinton in 2000.
Proximate security to Obama is expected to be given by his guards while other cordons will be manned by personnel from National Security Guard (NSG), Delhi Police and paramilitary force personnel, officials said. (IANS)