Delhi Police tighten security for Obama visit, warn of aerial threats


While Delhi police held a meeting with officials from northern states, informed sources said that a team of US Secret Service held meeting with Indian security agencies at the ministry of external affairs here to discuss the security arrangements.

Obama will be the chief guest for the Republic Day parade on January 26. He is also expected to visit Agra on January 27. The sources said that US Secret Service team is keen on emergency exit routes and dummy routes at places Obama would be visiting during his visit.

They said US team also wanted all restaurants and hotels enroute Agra from Delhi to be completely sanitised and shut a day before Obama’s expected visit to the historic city to see Taj Mahal.

Delhi Police chief BS Bassi on Friday held a meeting with senior police officials from the northern states “to share terror related intelligence and inputs about various extremist outfits and their designs”.The meeting also discussed ways to curb “criminal activities in NCR (national capital region)” and better coordination for the Republic Day and the forthcoming Delhi assembly polls.

Senior officers of Delhi Police and their counterparts from Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir attended the meeting. Bassi called for increasing police presence, intensive checking at vulnerable points, tenant verification, proper checking of guest houses and cyber cafes and sensitising second-hand car dealers, transporters, property dealers, cycle sellers, chemical dealers and STD/ISTD booth owners.

He stressed on keeping “watch on open area for flying of para-glider, micro-light air craft”.Bassi had cautioned against possible terror attacks in the national capital ahead of Republic Day by means of para-gliders or drones.”The police commissioner stressed on sharing information, conducting raids and concerted action against inter-state criminals particularly those involved in heinous offences, repeat offender and gangs, etc. in order to strengthen measures of counter terrorism,” a Delhi Police statement said.

Bassi asked officials of northern states to share advance information regarding visit of protected persons. The meeting also discussed diversion and checking of vehicles on borders between January 23 and 25. Bassi had told the media earlier in the day that adequate arrangements were being made for Obama’s visit. “We will make all adequate arrangements with our various units working together,” he said.

Police officials in Agra said that commandos will take up positions along the Yamuna river bed at the rear of the Taj Mahal. “Fifty odd commandos will be in Agra from January 22 to 29,” a source said. They said that roads near the historic monument will be totally sanitised and barricaded. “The security agencies have already begun screening road-side shops and kiosks,” an emporium-owner said.

Sources in the Agra administration indicated that the national highway to Delhi could  be sealed for two days. Traffic from the Yamuna Expressway towards the city is also likely to be curbed. A large number of American security personnel are believed to be already in the city, moving around and interacting with the locals as tourists in plainclothes. A team visited Kheria airport and reviewed the security arrangements, the officials said.