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Obamas attend Republic Day 'At Home' reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday attended the 'At Home' reception ceremony hosted by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of 66th Republic Day of India.

Barack Obama was accompanied by his wife and US First Lady Michelle Obama during President Pranab Mukherjee's 'At Home' ceremony here.

During the function, Vice President Hamid Ansari and his wife, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and several other Union Cabinet Ministers were present.

Chief Ministers of various states and many other dignitaries of the Modi government were also present in the function, which was held on the lavish lawns of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

As the function started, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama were welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian dignitaries. Later, Obama was seen meeting the invitees and shaking hands with all the chief ministers present here during the 'At Home' reception.

'At Home' reception is a ceremonial tea party hosted by the President in honour of the chief guests present during the Republic Day Parade every year.

The President's Bodyguards escorted President Pranab Mukherjee to the dais, following which the National Anthem was played. Thereafter, he mingled with the chief guest for the Republic Day parade, President Obama, and others.

Later, Presidents Mukherjee and Obama, US First Lady Michelle Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met and shared pleasantries with dignitaries present at the event.

While President Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi mingled with the general public, the Obamas' did not, choosing to remain in the VVIP enclosure.

The 'At Home' event concluded after about 45-minutes when President Mukherjee left the venue. As per normal practice, the guests were offered a variety of delicacies, besides tea and coffee at the event.

Earlier in the day, President Obama, who was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, became the first US president to attend the January 26 celebrations.

President Obama is also the first US president to visit the country twice while in office.

Delhi celebrated the 66th Republic Day today with a heavy deployment of policemen on the roads and at Rajpath. According to reports, over 50,000 security personnel, including 500 US Secret Service Agents, were deployed in the national capital. The Delhi Police was also alerted to take care of any untoward incident during the Republic Day celebrations.

The NSG snipers maintained a hawks eye vigil from high-rise buildings within a two-km-radius of Rajpath from where the VIPs watched the parade.

The central, north and New Delhi districts were manned by over 20,000 security personnel. Delhi has 11 police districts.

Around 15,000 newly installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at various places, including the areas where Obama's cavalcade will move along with some other roads and markets.

Barack Obama will remain in Delhi till January 27.

(With Agency inputs)

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