Unprecedented security arrangements await US President Barack Obama when he lands in Delhi Sunday morning with more than 50,000 Delhi police and central paramilitary men keeping a hawk eye on the streets of Delhi, especially the route of Republic Day parade from Rajpath to Red Fort.
“On every Republic day, we see a spurt in terror strikes in three major theaters – Jammu and Kashmir, Maoist areas and insurgency hit pockets in the North-Eastern states. Elaborate security arrangements are made for all three theaters to ensure a peaceful celebration of Indian democracy. But this time with Obama’s visit, the level of threat is enhanced, especially in J-K, where we are getting regular intelligence inputs that terrorists are trying to infiltrate from Pakistan to carry out a strike in the state,” said a home ministry official.
On the eve of President Bill Clinton’s visit in 2000, more than 35 people were killed by terrorists in Kashmir’s Chittisinghpura.
Latest intelligence inputs suggest small groups of terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen may carry out attacks in Jammu and Kathua and they might try to enter from Shakargarh, Zafarwal and Darman sectors.
On January 23, the Border Security Force foiled an infiltration bid in Samba sector, which the force claimed was the sixth effort from Pakistani this month.
With the cancellation of the Agra visit, workload of security agencies has lightened as the US Secret Service was worried about his exposure in the city.
“The Secret Service was mainly worried about the Agra leg and not about Delhi as it knew Indian agencies already had a rigorous security protocol for the Republic Day parade,” said a security official.
The US Secret Service is already in Delhi with its hi-tech gear, communication equipment, the Beast in which the US President travels, a dog squad consisting of Belgian Malinois breed along with personnel from its special forces.
Anti-aircraft guns and snipers from Delhi Police and National Security Guards on 71 high-rises along the parade route and quick reaction teams are also in place. Delhi will also remain a no-fly zone during the Republic Day parade, as it has always been.