26th Jan is no normal day in India. Being one of the most important days in the Indian history, there’s a lot we can expect from this day. Every year there’s a lot of pomp and show and grandeur added to the event by way of the important guests. More so this year because the chief guest is none other than ‘the’ Barack Obama! Hordes of flowers – some brought in from cities like Shimla and Bangalore- are on the proud display for the country’s VVIP visitors for its 65th Republic Day celebrations.
This is the first time that a US President has had such an honour. We can definitely accredit this to the Modi effect.
People of both the nations are looking forward to strengthening Indo- American ties through this visit.
Each year the celebrations are amazing in the Capital and so is the security.
The invite to Barack Obama was the idea of the PM, who felt that the presence of the leader of the oldest democracy on the day to commemorate the foundation of the largest democracy would mark a celebration of the spirit of democracy besides giving a fillip to his effort to restore the warmth in bilateral ties.
The capital is set to witness a lockdown of all sorts in the run- up to January 26, with offices, arterial roads and metro stations closed for security. Here’s a list of all that you should know about the preparations for the visit of the most ‘powerful’ President in the world.
- The US sleuths have already inspected Maurya Sheraton thrice for its proximity to the main road, safety, food and other aspects. This is where the US first citizens will be staying.
2. According to sources, Obama’s Air Force One flight is loaded with latest and best equipment to deal with any situation, including terror attack.
- The aerial activity will be monitored by radars. There is total air closure during the parade. No civilian flights are operated. The only planes and choppers in the sky belong to the Air Force for the traditional fly-past.
- Security agencies will partly or completely shut down 71 high rise buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath for this year’s Republic Day celebrations, much higher than earlier occasions when only around 45 establishments were closed. Police will take over these buildings around 1 pm on January 25 and sanitise every nook and corner of these buildings manually. Snipers will be positioned on the roof tops of these buildings after that.
- A seven- layer security ring will be in place around the area from where the US and Indian leaders will watch the parade.
- While the number of seats to be sanitized has increased this time, the number of passes issued for this year’s event in ratio of the available seats has seen a decline of almost 60 per cent. Earlier, 300 passes were issued for every 100 seats available at the Rajpath but this time authorities are issuing only 125 passes for every 100 available seats.
- The American President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held comprehensive talks on the entire gamut of bilateral ties in a “one-on- one” walk at Delhi’s Hyderabad House and also various ways to enhance cooperation in key components, including civil nuclear and defence pacts.
- The two sides are also reportedly working on a proposal for an insurance pool by the domestic Indian companies to offset the financial burden of American entities as both countries are keen to have a “concrete” deliverable in the area during Obama’s visit.
- On the final day of the visit, Obama will give an address at the Siri Fort Auditorium before leaving for Saudi Arabia.
- The Prez cancelled his trip to the Taj Mahal, Agra to visit Saudi Arabia and pay his condolences following the death of King Abdullah.
The bilateral cooperation is now broad-based and multi-sectoral, covering trade and investment, defence and security, education, science and technology, cyber security, high technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, agriculture and health.
The Obamas were greeted and received by PM Modi who broke with protocol to drive to the airport, adhering to the principle of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. Our very own Modiji seems too excited; having changed his clothes thrice since the morning, his stylist is a busier man than Obama himself!
Nevertheless, India welcomes the President and the first lady. Jai Hind!