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'Barack Obama may depart for US from Agra'

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama, who arrives in India on January 25 to attend Republic Day Parade, will now be travelling to Agra on Air Force One instead of taking the land route through the Delhi-Agra highway.

The authorities here have looked into the feasibility of Obama's plane landing in Agra and have earmarked the Indian Air Force base for the purpose.

As per reports, a feasibility report has favoured landing of the Boeing 747-200B series aircraft at the airfield, which had served as a major airbase for allied forces during the World War-II.

Air Force One is a Boeing 747-200B plane customised by the US Secret Services for the US President.

President Obama, who will watch the Republic Day Parade at the majestic Rajpath on January 26, will fly to Agra the next day along with his wife Michelle to visit the Taj Mahal.

His plane will land at the Indian Air Force base, as per reports, and the US President will then proceed towards the Taj either in his 'Beast' or on a helicopter. No official word is however available on this as yet.

Meanwhile, Agra will turn into a no-fly zone while Obama is in the city.

Also, PTI has reported that President Obama is now expected to depart from Agra instead of Delhi with his Air Force One getting a go-ahead to land in Agra.

The agency also reported that Indian and US officials have reached an agreement that Obama will arrive at Rajpath to witness the Republic Day parade in his own official car 'Beast', marking a departure from tradition wherein the chief guest travels to the Rajpath with the Indian President in his limousine.

Obama's official car will form a part of the convoy of President Pranab Mukherjee when he arrives at Rajpath escorted by President's bodyguards riding impeccably-trained horses.

Earlier exception was made in 2007 when Russian President Vladmir Putin was the chief guest at the Republic Day. He travelled in his own car, which formed part of the then president APJ Abdul Kalam's convoy.

A team of Indian doctors will also form part of the US presidential convoy, sources said.

Seven Belgian Malinois dogs, who have distinction of being part of Osama bin Laden's Navy Seals hunt team, have arrived already ahead of the visit of the VVIP.

(With agency inputs)

From Zee News

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