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Drones, satellites, warships to protect Obama

November 03, 2010 10:34 IST
Drones. Satellites. Warships. Vikash Nanjappa profiles the New Age security posted for US President Barack Obama's visit.

Apart from the security on the ground, drones, satellites and warships will be part of the security process for Barack Obama's visit to India, sources told Rediff.com

Indian and American satellites will be deployed for the duration of the visit. India's RISAT (Radar Imaging Satellite) will have a big role to play, the sources added.

RISAT, which the Indian Space Research Organisation says is not a spy satellite, will be more active, informed sources said.

It will be used to track movement along India's borders and, more importantly, send signals or images of any hostile movement along the coast.

The US will rely on its own satellites for imagery, communication and global positioning information. Images and information from these American satellites will be transmitted to the US for analysis and threat assessment.

Sources said there will also be enhanced patrolling of the high seas, in the light of the fact that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008 sailed into the city.

Indian Coast Guard and naval ships, along with US naval ships, will patrol the waters off Mumbai this week, until the Obamas fly to Delhi on Sunday morning.

Sources said more than 40 Secret Service agents -- entrusted with protecting POTUS (President of the United States) and his family -- are in Mumbai and New Delhi, reviewing daily security arrangements at each of the locations that Barack and Michelle Obama are scheduled to visit.

Sources said the US will also deploy drones over these locations, to track possible threats to the American president.

All locations Obama will visit will be declared no-fly zones. The air space above the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai and the Maurya Sheraton hotel in New Delhi, where the Obamas will stay, and the Trident hotel in Mumbai, where the president will address a business convention, will also be no-fly zones. This means, any suspicious aircraft could be shot down by the Indian Air Force.

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Vicky Nanjappa