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Olympic torch arrives in New Delhi
April 17, 2008 01:42 IST
Last Updated: April 17, 2008 02:13 IST
The Olympic torch touched down the Indian soil in the wee hours of Thursday with colourfully dressed children receiving the flame here amid unprecedented security.
The plane landed at Palam technical area at 1.10 am IST. Colourfully dressed children, both Indian and Chinese, numbering about 30, were present at the airport to receive the flame.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi, the Chinese Ambassodor Zhang Yan and Chinese embassy officials were present at the airport on the occasion.
A large number of security personnel were deployed to keep anti-Chinese protesters at bay.
The torch relay, which was first put in place during 1936 Berlin Olympics [Images], will be rolled out at the majestic Rajpath in the heart of the capital on Thursday afternoon.
Security akin to the Republic day parade has been put in place for the mega event in the wake of continuing protest by the Tibetans.
Cricket star Sachin Tendulkar [Images] has excused himself from the torch relay in which actors Aamir Khan [Images], Saif Ali Khan [Images] and Sagarika Ghatge besides sportspersons like P T Usha and Anju Bobby George will participate amid tight security.
Leaving nothing to chance in view of intensified protests by Tibetans, government has decided to put in place a three-layered security ring for the 2.3 km-run on the Rajpath which will be sealed for six hours from 1 pm IST Thursday.
Offices flanking the Rajpath have been ordered to keep the windows closed and employees working there asked to remain indoors during the run.
Keen to avoid protests like Tuesday's parallel torch relay by Tibetans on the designated route for the Olympic flame run, security forces are extra vigilant.
After being relayed through 21 countries, the torch will be carried into the opening ceremony of Beijing [Images] Olympics in August.
This year, the relay runs into 130 days and the Olympic Games organising committee has selected 'journey of harmony' as the theme of the relay with a slogan 'light the passion, share the dream'.
This is the fourth time that New Delhi has played host to the Olympic torch relay.