Full security in Delhi and Mumbai this week — complete with snipers on rooftops — would enable India’s security establishment and the US Secret Service to tie loose ends in providing the “fool-proof” security promised by Home Minister P. Chidambaram during President Barack Obama’s first state visit.
A similar drill will be carried out in Delhi on Friday.
Ports and airports have already been told to scrupulously scan incoming parcels, particularly from Yemen and Somalia, in the wake of detection of two US-bound parcel bombs sent from Yemen in an alleged al-Qaeda plot.
When Obama’s Air Force One enters Indian air space on November 6, US and Indian air traffic controllers at Mumbai’s ATC tower will be the aircraft’s eyes and ears, guiding the plane to the Mumbai airport.
“Initially, there were suggestions that American air traffic staff would take over the ATC tower and the regular staff would have to move out of the control room,” a government source said. “But we did not agree… it has been agreed that US and Indian traffic controllers would be present.”
All highrise buildings in the vicinity of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel and Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton hotel, where the President will stay, will be sanitised and commandos will guard them from rooftops.
The Mumbai coastline will be guarded by Indian Navy personnel while the skies of both the cities will be protected by IAF fighter jets and helicopters.
The Ridge area — opposite the Maurya Sheraton — has been illuminated by floodlights.