Indian security agencies face heat over Obama visit

A soldier stands guard on Rajpath as security has been beefed-up in the area ahead of Republic Day in New Delhi.

A soldier stands guard on Rajpath as security has been beefed-up in the area ahead of Republic Day in New Delhi.
A soldier stands guard on Rajpath as security has been beefed-up in the area ahead of Republic Day in New Delhi.

By Rajnish Singh 

An advance team of US Secret Service agents who are in the capital to ensure the security of President Barack Obama during his three-day India visit are reportedly “bullying” their Indian counterparts on every aspect of the security.

Well-informed sources said that around 25 Secret Service agents arrived in the capital Jan 13. They have attended several meeting with the Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials and Delhi Police personnel for the security arrangements for Obama’s visit, but their “overbearing” attitude is said to be upsetting junior police officials.

“We have discussed every minute security detail of our arrangements with the Secret Service agents. We are also working on the suggestions they shared with us. But their demands are increasing every time. They don’t behave like the security agencies of other countries,” an official, close to the security arrangements for the Obama visit said .

He said: “I have done my 30 years in Delhi Police and made arrangements for several high profile foreign dignitaries. I have good friends in security agencies of other countries, but the US Secret Service agents are not like them. They are very rude and overbearing. It appears that they do not like to give importance to us.”

Another source say that the advance US Secret Service agents are “interfering in all our security arrangements and trying to show themselves as more competent and with more expertise”.

Since the US Secret Service team arrived in the capital, they are “demanding new things and trying to point out loopholes in several aspects”, he said.

“Now they want to position surveillance satellites to track each and every movement of Obama, and are pressurizing us to cut short the time of Obama’s stay in the open air on Rajpath for the Republic Day parade,” the official said.

“We are ready to provide surveillance satellite facility on Rajpath on Jan 26 as we are also keen to ensure safe arrangements for the VVIP enclosure where Obama will be seated along with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Despite all our efforts to please them with our arrangements, the Secret Service agents are exhibiting their mistrust in us. Now they have demanded to deploy dozens of their own snipers on the rooftops in the two-kilometre circle of Rajpath along with Delhi Police snipers,” he said.

The Indian security agencies are ready to provide a seven-layer security on Rajpath during the two hours that Obama will spend in the open watching the parade.

The US forces will provide close proximity security to Obama while the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos will be in the second layer, and the third will be covered by the Special Protection Group (SPG), while other three layers will be managed by the Delhi Police.

Another team of over 300 US Secret Service agents will reach Delhi Jan 25 morning along with the US president, another official said.

The US team is staying in the super-luxury ITC Maurya hotel where the US president will be stationed during his three day visit between Jan 25 and Jan 27,

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