A ground-to-air security cover on par with the Republic Day parade will be put in place for Narendra Modi’s swearing in as India’s 15th Prime Minister on Monday which will be attended by top leaders of neighbouring countries and around 3,000 other select guests.
Delhi Police said a multi-layered security ring will be thrown around Raisina Hills and all offices around it will be closed five hours before the event takes place at forecourt lawn of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. “The offices around Rastrapati Bhavan will be shut at 1 PM following which they will be sanitised by security agencies. The security will be on par with R-Day parade,” said a senior police official. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at 6 PM.
Sources said the IAF will put in place an air defence system to secure the skies and snippers will be deployed at all high-rise buildings around the high-security area. Police said all roads around Raisina Hills will also be barricaded as part of security measures. Mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters of NSG will also be deployed besides paramilitary and Delhi Police commandos to secure the area. Dog squad and bomb-disposal squads will sanitise the venue.
Following the footsteps of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi had expressed his desire to be sworn at the forecourt so that a large number of visitors can be accommodated. Earlier, Chandrashekar was another Prime Minister who had taken oath at the same venue.
Around 3,000 guests are expected to participate in the event. Leaders who have sent their confirmations to attend the ceremony are Sri Lankan President President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
Bangladesh will be represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as Premier Sheikh Hasina is travelling to Japan at the time of Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. Delhi Police and other security agencies are on high alert for the ceremony especially after the attack on Indian Consulate in Afghanistan’s Herat province this morning.
The oath-taking ceremony has assumed a more high-profile event with SAARC leaders Rajapaksa, Karzai, Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom attending the ceremony. If Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also decides to join the event, the stakes will go even higher.
A senior police official said security is not just limited to the venue, that is Rashtrapati Bhavan. Hotels where these foreign dignitaries will be staying and the routes they will be traveling will also see a thick security cover. Hectic meetings for planning and coordination among different security agencies are going on at Rashtrapati Bhavan as senior officials ponder over a fool-proof security for the event.
Senior police and other security establishment officials will be on the ground as well as in the command room to monitor the situation in real time when the event takes place. Spotters will also be present on high-rise buildings like Rail Bhavan and Air Force Headquarters which are close to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.