A multi-layered security apparatus has been put in place for Narendra Modi's swearing-in as India's 14th Prime Minister at forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow, to be witnessed by nearly 4000 invitees including heads of state and government of SAARC nations.
More than 6000 security personnel will keep a hawk-eyed vigil even as a ground-to-air security system at par with the one placed during the Republic Day parade has been put in place for the ceremony.
"We have made elaborate security arrangements for the swearing in ceremony. Prohibitory orders have been put in place in the New Delhi district. Full air defence grid is place. Any airborne activity including hot air balloons will not be allowed. We are on guard against terror act," said Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) M K Meena.
IAF has put in place an air defence system to secure the skies. Anti-aircraft guns have been placed at classified locations. Snipers will be deployed at all high-rise buildings around the high-security area hours before the ceremony begins at 6 PM at forecourt lawn of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Mobile hit teams, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) have been deployed besides paramilitary and Delhi Police commandos to secure the area. Dog squad and bomb-disposal squads have already sanitised the venue but the drill will also be repeated several times tomorrow. NSG commandos will be responsible for the inner layer of security.
All buildings like North Block, South Block and defence buildings around Rashtrapati Bhavan will be shut at 1 PM following which they will be sanitised by security agencies and their roof tops will be secured, police said.
"In the restricted areas, only official vehicles and bonafide residents will be allowed. Commandos and local police will strengthen the operations of traffic police. Till the time all invitees leave the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the security blanket will be operational," said Meena.
Talking about security for the bilateral talks slated to be held on Tuesday, Meena said that full security drill is in place for the meeting.
"Prohibitory orders are in place in the New Delhi area till Tuesday," he said.
Strict traffic restrictions have been put in place for the ceremony. Roads to Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and its North and South Fountain area, South Avenue Marg, North Avenue Marg, Dalhousie Road and Church Road will be closed between 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm tomorrow.
Following in the footsteps of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi had expressed his desire to be sworn-in at the sprawling forecourt lawn of Rashtrapati Bhavan so that a large number of visitors can be accommodated. Chandrashekar was another Prime Minister to have taken oath at the same venue.
The swearing-in ceremony of the 15th Prime Minister of India would be attended by nearly 4,000 guests, including top leaders from SAARC countries like Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
President Pranab Mukherjee will administer the oath of office and secrecy to 63-year-old Modi and his Council of Ministers in the presence of a host of leaders, including outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, besides leaders of various other parties and Chief Ministers of a number of states.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will be among the foreign dignitaries attending the ceremony.
Senior police and other security establishment officials will be on ground as well as in the command room to monitor the situation in realtime 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.
There will be anti-sabotage checks on all roads leading to the venue and top notch security will be in place along all the routes to be taken by the dignitaries to reach the venue.
As multiple agencies are involved in the security apparatus, several rounds of meetings have already taken place to ensure fool-proof coordination during the event.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan perched on the Raisina Hills is already a high-security zone. With security being further beefed up, the presidential estate and an area within two km radius will turn into a virtual fortress.
Some of the foreign countries have agreed to the request of dropping their security component from the entourage of the heads of state and government keeping in view the limited space available at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.