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First couple takes it easy on Day One

It is no ordinary visit ? for it comes after a decade and symbolises the closing of ranks by two economic tigers, report Vidya Krishnan and Tushar Srivastava.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2006 01:26 IST

It is no ordinary visit — for it comes after a decade and symbolises the closing of ranks by two economic tigers.

The capital rolled out the red carpet to welcome Chinese President Hu Jintao and his wife Liu Yongqing, who arrived at the Taj Mansingh Hotel late Monday evening, on a four-day visit to the country to shore up Sino-Indian ties.

Though his itinerary is crammed, the first say was leisurely. The first couple spent a relaxed evening in their suite, decked up with special care for perhaps the year’s most important guest. Preparations had begun a month in advance. “The Chinese leader had no engagements on the first day of his visit and spent the evening in his suite. He even ordered dinner from the room service,” said a hotel executive. Not much is known about the President’s palate or his taste for Indian cuisine.

But the hotel laid out a lavish table replete with Indian delicacies  for the special guest. “Our chefs, who specialise in Chinese food have been working hard and we have received requests from the delegation. The President will be offered a diverse platter,” said Neha Garg, spokesperson, Taj Mansingh Hotel. Sources said 140 rooms have been booked for the delegation, which includes chefs.

If the menu is royal, the security arrangement befits a monarch. The Delhi Police, along with other security agencies, threw a thick blanket in and around Taj Mansingh Hotel — which was swarming with men in khaki . The security wing of the Delhi Police, sources said, was handling the hotel security. While Ajay Chadha, special commissioner (security) refused to comment on the arrangements, police sources said the district police is handling the security outside. “There is heavy security presence along the roads leading to the hotel and adequate arrangement has been made for the President and the first lady, when they step out. A few roads in the vicinity and along the President’s route have been barricaded and traffic movement restricted. “They have blocked the Mansingh Road and parking facilities are in a quandary. I had an appointment at 6 pm, but could not get in,” said Jincy Joseph, a visitor.

Email tushar@hindustantimes.com

Email vidya.krishnan@hindustantimes.com

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