US wants only its snipers on building rooftops, India says 'no'New Delhi: India has said a polite ‘no' to the US for its proposal that only the American snipers be deployed on the rooftops of buildings overlooking Rajpath during the Republic Day parade where President
New Delhi: India has said a polite ‘no' to the US for its proposal that only the American snipers be deployed on the rooftops of buildings overlooking Rajpath during the Republic Day parade where President Barack Obama will be the Chief Guest.
With preparations for the high-profile visit beginning January 25 entering the last leg, top security officials of the two countries are engaged in sorting out such issues about deployment and other aspects related to protection of the world's most secured leader.
Furnishing a list of demands to their Indian counterparts, the US Secret Services officials wanted rooftops overlooking Rajpath as an exclusive domain for their men to guard Obama.
This was politely turned down, officials involved in the arrangements said, adding the US officials were asked not to interfere in the security set up as the Indian officials are well trained and equipped to provide protective cover for theVVIP.
The Indian officials engaged in the negotiations conveyed that they had a host of VVIPs including President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other important dignitaries to look after at Republic Day function and therefore, stationing of its own snipers was necessary, sources said.
India has also shot down a proposal of the US security establishment for declaring a ‘no-fly zone' over the venue as this would have meant cancellation of a customary fly past by Indian Air Force.
Another issue during the negotiations was whether Obama would travel to the podium at Rajpath with Mukherjee. The American side insisted that Obama should come separately rather than with the host President, deviating from the tradition.
If Obama does come with Mukherjee in his bullet-proof Limousine, he will possibly be the first US President not to travel in his own highly-secured ‘Beast'. The US also wanted three routes exclusively meant for the travel of their President from every venue and insisted that there should be no overlapping with travel plan of any other Indian dignitary, the sources said.
However, after intense negotiations, the security agencies made them understand that route planning is the domain of the host country and that other VVIPs including the President and the Prime Minister will have to use the same routes designated for the visiting VVIP.