Tight security in Delhi for Obama visit

Tight security in Delhi for Obama visit

New Delhi: An unprecedented ground-to-air security apparatus has been put in place in the capital which prepares to host US President Barack Obama on Sunday.

Authorities here have held consultations with their American counterparts on the security aspects of the visit.

Obama, who reaches the capital tomorrow afternoon from Mumbai, will have a busy schedule -- visiting the Humayun’s Tomb and Rajghat, meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and addressing Parliament before he leaves on Tuesday.

Hundreds of snipers will keep a watch from rooftops on the routes the President will be taking while aerial surveillance will also be maintained, officials said.

The ITC Maurya where Obama 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 sanitized the hotel. Snipers will be deployed on rooftops on Obama’s route. We have a foolproof arrangement for the US President," he 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 forces as also the elite National Security Guards (NSG).

As part of the security measures, the official said, the Ridge area opposite the hotel has been lit 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 official said.

Monkey-catchers and dog-catchers have also been deployed in Ridge area and Rajghat to avert any untoward situation.

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.