New Delhi: As the final itinerary of US President Barack Obama is still being worked out, security agencies are finalizing plans for his protection in Delhi, where he will attend the Republic day function, besides in Agra and Varanasi, the two other cities he may visit.
An advance liaison team of the US secret service has already held a few rounds of meetings with their Indian counterparts and another meeting will be held on Friday when the final itinerary will be discussed threadbare by the security officials of the two countries.
“We are taking no chances. Even though Obama's travel plans are still being worked out, we are making arrangements for his all possible destinations,” a senior security official said.
There is no clear indication so far whether Obama will travel along with President Pranab Mukherjee in his bullet-proof limousine. If he does, he will be possibly the first US President not to travel in his own highly-secured ‘Beast'.
US and Indian security agencies are taking extra care for Obama as he will be on an open air platform at Rajpath for more than two hours witnessing the Republic day parade. There is a possibility of putting up a bullet-proof shield in and around VVIP enclosure with US secret service taking up positions at vital locations, including nearby high-rise buildings.
Explaining the scale of securitytaken for Obama when he is abroad, a security official said six planes load of equipment, vehicles, oil tankers, choppers and 1600 American personnel were air dashed to Myanmar in November when the US President had attended the East Asia Summit there.
Even the fuel used by the US President's cavalcade was brought by an American Navy ship to a port in Myanmar from where it was transported to capital Nay Pyi Taw through a US oil tanker with full security.
At least 10,000 paramilitary troopers will join the 80,000-strong Delhi Police to ensure fool-proof security in and around Rajpath where the main Republic day function will be held.
Unlike in previous years, access to Rajpath has already been closed while roads criss-crossing Rajpath like Rafi Marg, Janpath and Man Singh Road will be shut for general public a day or two before January 26.
All buildings flanking Rajpath like North and South Blocks, Rail Bhavan, Krishi Bhavan, Shastri Bhavan, Vayu Bhavan, Udyug Bhavan, Nirman Bhavan, Jawahar Bhavan, National Museum and Vigyan Bhavan will be secured by January 24 and no one, except security personnel, will be allowed to visit them. Snippers will take up positions at vantage points while Indian Air Force will provide air cover to the parade area and the VVIPs on the ground.