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108 minutes — duration of Barack Obama’s outing at Rajpath

Defence ministry sources said there was “no official confirmation regarding Michelle’s presence” at the parade.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi |
Updated: January 20, 2015 8:33:17 am
Barack Obama, Obama India visit, Barack Obama India, Obama Republic Day US President Barack Obama’s advance team at Taj Mahal Monday. (Source: AP)

US President Barack Obama is likely to be “exposed” to outdoors for one hour 48 minutes during the Republic Day parade according to a detailed, minute-by-minute programme that has been circulated among the ministries. According to the schedule, Obama will be arriving at Rajpath with President Pranab Mukherjee at 9.57 am and will remain present there till 11.45 am when the parade concludes.

As reported earlier by this paper, the officials of US secret service had expressed concerns of Obama’s outdoor exposure, and wanted to reduce it — Obama’s outdoor public event exposure is normally limited to a maximum of 45 minutes.

Defence ministry sources, however, said Obama is the nation’s guest and that “there has not been a tradition when the chief guest leaves the ceremony midway through the parade or the possibility that the parade will be cut short to suit the convenience of the chief guest”.

The parade, which is also Narendra Modi’s first as, PM will begin with him visiting Vijay Chowk at 9.40 am where he will lay wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti. Within 10 minutes, Modi will be arriving at Rajpath and will be followed by the arrival of Vice-President Hamid Ansari at 9.53 am.

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While the “chief guest’s spouse” Michelle Obama will be arriving along with President Pranab Mukherjee’s wife, Mukherjee and Obama are slated to arrive at 9.57 am. This will be followed by the formation of President’s bodyguard and commencement of the parade at 10.05 am.

Defence ministry sources said there was “no official confirmation regarding Michelle’s presence” at the parade.

The parade is also set to bear the imprint of PM Modi. While the contingent of women officers of all the three services will participate in the parade for the first time, ministries’ tableaux will include — Beti Bachao Beti Padhao by Ministry of Women and Child Development, PM’s pet Jan Dhan Yojna by Department of Financial Services, Maa Ganga by CPWD, Make in India by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ayush and ‘Indian Railway on fast track to the future’ by the Ministry of Railways.

Interestingly, Modi’s home state will be displaying the Statue of Unity: Sardar Sarovar project. The statue had formed a part of BJP’s Lok Sabha campaign.

Accommodated in the children’s pageant is Swachchh Banaye Bharat —- a performance by Government Girls Senior Secondary School from Delhi and Kal Hamara Hai- Mangalyaan by another school in Delhi.

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