The city police have asked the Mumbai Maritime Board to seal the 76-km-long south Mumbai coastline during US President Barack Obama’s visit and not allow any type of vessel within five nautical miles of the coast.
There are an estimated 120 speedboats, 87 passenger ferries and 5,500 fishing trawlers — which employ more than 40,000 people — along the coastline.
“We have requested the Mumbai Maritime Board to ensure that the vessels do not come within the restricted area, and they have agreed to these conditions,” a police officer said, adding that the boats would use a docking station at another place on November 6 and 7, the two days Obama will be in the city.
“We have verified the documents of every vessel and the smart cards issued to fishing trawlers,” an officer said. Meanwhile, police sources said US secret service officials had given a list of 12 venues all over the city and asked the police to make necessary security arrangements there.
“The White House has given them (the secret agents) a tentative list (of 12 places), and we are beefing up security at those places,” an officer said.
The need to safeguard the city’s coastline became painfully clear to Indian security officials after the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in which terrorists from Pakistan took the sea route to enter Mumbai.
Around 23 police boats carrying more than 130 personnel will be stationed near the coast during the president's visit.
“After five nautical miles, the sea will be monitored by the coast guard,” the officer said.
The police, however, has said these were precautionary measures.
“We have not received any threat or intelligence input (of any possible attack) in view of the Obama visit,” said joint commissioner of police (law and order) Rajnish Seth.
‘Outsourcing relief unlikely’
Chief campaign manager for Barack Obama Pete Dagher feels that the US President cannot bring any relief concerns over outsourcing here at a time when jobs are a sensitive issue in the US. “It’s unlikely. I don’t think the President will open up for jobs,” Dagher who was also campaign manager to former President Bill Clinton said.
He also said Obama is unlikely to mention anything against China and Pakistan.
He was responding to a query from Arundhati Ghose, former Indian representative at the United Nations, who said India was expecting the US President to mention about Pakistan and assertiveness of China.
“Unlikely. I don’t see any such likelihood. May be he will,” Dagher said with a caveat that he is speaking in his personal capacity and not for Obama. HTC, New Delhi