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Tighter security than that of Indian PM, President

delhi Updated: Nov 08, 2010 00:37 IST
Karan Choudhury
Karan Choudhury
Hindustan Times
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It has taken one squadron of Mirage-2000 fighter planes, 40 other planes filled to the ceiling with gear, arms and ammunitions, hundreds of vehicles and 20,000 men from national and international security agencies to secure one man.

For the next 72 hours, US President Barack Obama is the most heavily protected man in the national Capital, having security detail bigger than that of the Indian Prime Minister and President combined.

According to senior officials in ministry of external affairs (MEA), highest priority is being given to provide security to Air Force One, the official plane of the US President.

After the plane touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport's Indian Air Force protected Runway 27, the Air Force One came under the watchful eyes of the Garud Commando Force men.

"Around 300 Garud commandos have been deployed around the plane along with the Marines to protect it at all times. The Garud are a specialised unit of the Air Force, much like the National Security Guards (NSG)," a senior ministry of external affairs official said on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

According to Bureau of Civil Aviation Security sources, the airspace will be closed for para-gliders, hot air balloons and micro light planes from 6:30 pm on November 5 to November 9.

With snipers on rooftops, surveillance over Yamuna banks, heightened vigil on flyovers and traffic curbs, the security cover for Obama has been deemed as impregnable by senior Delhi Police officers.

Also, around 500 Marines and Army Rangers from the US Embassy have been deployed at different ridge areas of the city. "They will conduct combing operations and will be stationed till the completion of the visit. We will cover the outside periphery and provide any sort of assistance as and when required," said a senior police officer.