‘Fortress’ Delhi Gets Ready for Barack Obama’s Visit
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will leave Andrews Air Force Base this evening for his highly anticipated three-day landmark trip to India on an invitation by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The capital is under the highest level of security and is seeing unprecedented measures for President Obama’s visit. For President Obama, who is the chief guest of the Republic Day celebrations, security agencies in New Delhi have extended the 300 km no-fly zone during the Republic Day to a radius of 400 km this year, covering cities such as Jaipur in the west, and Agra, and extending to the border with Pakistan.
While a no-fly zone bars commercial flights during the two-hour procession, the programme wraps up with a fly-past by military planes.Some of the measures taken are extra police patrols, extra checks at metro stations, stringent traffic regulations and no pillion riding on motorcycles and scooters. Snipers will be deployed at more than 70 high-rise buildings around central Delhi.
President Obama will be accompanied by a sizable delegation that will include several top officials, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama, when he arrives in New Delhi tomorrow morning, the White House has said.
The president will be joined in India by multiple members of his cabinet, influential business leaders and a host of US lawmakers, including Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the US House of Representatives during the trip.
Air Force One, the presidential aircraft that will fly Mr Obama to India, will have a brief refuelling halt over Ramstein in Germany and will touch down in Delhi at 10 am on Sunday at Air Force Station, Palam.
On his arrival, Mr Obama will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at about 12 noon at the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Thereafter, he will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the Rajghat at 12.40 pm and participate in a tree planting event there.
Mr Obama will then join PM Modi for a restricted working lunch at the Hyderabad House and participate in a “walk and talk” with the Indian Prime Minister there at about 2.45 pm, the
White House said.
The two leaders will then have an expanded delegation level meeting, which is expected to last for about an hour.They will jointly address the press at about 4.10 pm.
Later in the evening, Mr Obama is scheduled to meet embassy personnel and families at ITC Maurya Hotel at 7.35 pm. He will then drive down to Rashtrapati Bhawan to attend the state dinner with President Pranab Mukherjee at 7.50 pm.
On January 26, Mr Obama will participate in the Republic Day celebration as the chief guest along with the First Lady.Later, the Obamas will attend a reception with Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan.In the afternoon, Obama and Modi will participate in a CEO forum roundtable and deliver remarks at a US-India Business Summit.
On January 27 morning, the US President will give an address at Siri Fort Auditorium. The Obamas were scheduled to go to Agra on Tuesday, but that visit has now been cancelled. They will then leave from New Delhi that evening.