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Tight security cordons around Bush venues
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | March 01, 2006 13:53 IST
Last Updated: March 01, 2006 13:55 IST
Hours before visiting US President George W Bush's Air Force One lands at the Indira Gandhi International Airport around 8 pm Wednesday, US secret service agents assisted by sleuths from the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police have thrown one of the tighest security cordons around the venues he is likely to visit on March 2 and March 3 in Delhi.
A full dress reheresal was conducted with about 45 vehicles in cavalcade on Tuesday night by the American president's personal security guards from the Delhi airport to Maurya Sheraton hotel where Bush and his entourage will stay during the visit.
US officials have visited Hyderabad House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rajghat, Purana Qila and other places serveral times to ensure that nothing goes wrong during the trip.
Seventeen sniffer dog squad teams have already arrived. Both the Maurya Sheraton and Le Meridien hotels had to bend their rules to allow the dogs to say in the hotels.
While 10 dog teams would be parked at Maurya Sheraton, the rest would be put up at the other hotel.
Four planes of the Indian Air Force will escort the VIP aeroplane as it enters Indian airspace. The same exercise is likely to be repeated when he flies to Hyderabad and back to Delhi on March 3.
The president's engangements have been fixed and among those who are likely to call on him include Congress and United Progressive Alliance chairman Sonia Gandhi and Leader of the Opposition Lal Kishenchand Advani.
Bush, who will be given a 21 gun salute as he inspects the guard of honour in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan Thursday around 9 am, will visit Rajghat around 10.30 am and later in the evening come back to the President's house at 7.30 pm for the banquet.
Mughal Gardens will remain closed on Thursday as a security measure.
"About 100 guests have been invited, which includes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife, Sonia, Advani, Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal, former presidents and prime ministers.
Ustad Zakir Hussain will also be be present. There will be a four-course dinner, which will last over two hours," a senior Rashtrapati Bhavan official said.
The visit of Laura Bush to Prayas, a non governmental organisation, can be covered by only a select group of journalists. Those who do not have the PIB accreditation have been bluntly told to stay away.