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Low on security, high on impact

French President Nicolas Sarkozy chose to begin his whirlwind tour of Mumbai from a venue US President Barack Obama preferred to miss during his two-day stay in the city last month.

mumbai Updated: Dec 08, 2010 00:26 IST
HT Correspondents

French President Nicolas Sarkozy chose to begin his whirlwind tour of Mumbai from a venue US President Barack Obama preferred to miss during his two-day stay in the city last month.

After landing at 11.05 am, Sarkozy and his singer-model wife Carla Bruni went to the 26/11 police memorial at the Police Gymkhana on Marine Drive.

Unlike Obama’s large secret service team, the French first couple’s entire security was managed by the Mumbai police. Only a small team of three to four bodyguards shadowed Sarkozy and Bruni. His convoy comprised around 10 vehicles, most of which were the police’s protection and escort cars. Security at the venue and on the roads the convoy took was of a smaller scale than Obama’s.

At the memorial, Sarkozy was received by DGP D Sivanandhan and police commissioner Sanjeev Dayal. Sarkozy laid a wreath at the memorial and saluted the martyrs.

The President’s next stop was the Oberoi Trident Hotel, where he spoke on terror.

“We know the price Pakistanis are paying for terrorism but it is unacceptable for the world that terrorist groups are masterminded and trained in Pakistan,” said Sarkozy, while appreciating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s restraint after the attacks.

“It is not acceptable for Afghanistan and our troops in Afghanistan that Taliban and Al-Qaida should find refuge in the frontier zones of Pakistan.”

He extended his support to India in the fight against terror and said there will be no limit to operational cooperation with India to counter terrorism.

“A Pakistan which is democratic, stable and prosperous, is in the interest of this region and the world,” he said.

At 1 pm, Sarkozy headed to the Taj for lunch, where chef Hemant Oberoi had put together a special menu: Smoked salmon canapés, turkey and curried chicken salami amuse buche, golgappa scallops, chicken tikka margarita pizza, tandoori sea bass, chicken biryani and lamb Curry. For dessert, the couple was served anjeer shahi tukda and gulab jamun creme brulé.

The President also felicitated the staff for their bravery during 26/11.