Security agencies gear up for Obama visit

Last Updated: Friday, November 5, 2010 - 18:47

New Delh: Authorities here on Friday geared up
for US President Barack Obama`s visit to the national capital
on Sunday, finetuning an elaborate security apparatus and
holding consultations with their American counterparts.

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 tomorrow 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 US
security agencies taking over the building, a senior official
said.

"We have sanitised the hotel. Snipers will be deployed
on rooftops on Obama`s route. We have a foolproof arrangement
for the US President," the official said.

Around 2,000 police and paramilitary personnel will be
deployed in and around the hotel which had earlier hosted US
Presidents Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W Bush in 2006
besides US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year.

Proximity security to 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 lightened up while
personnel from Indian and US agencies have checked the
manholes on the routes Obama is taking.

US security agencies have already reviewed the security
arrangements in Parliament -- where 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 have a sneak peek at the 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 US 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.

PTI



First Published: Friday, November 5, 2010 - 18:47

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