The Beast is back in Delhi for the second time in five years – but there’s nothing to panic about. That’s the moniker of the armoured limousine US President Barack Obama will travel in during his visit here Jan 25-27.
“Obama’s vehicle has arrived to Delhi and has been parked at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. It will be on the city’s roads from Jan 25,” a senior police officer said.
The car is part of the US Secret Service motor pool.
The officer said the US president will commute in the vehicle for his various appointments in the capital. However, it is yet to be ascertained
whether he would arrive on Rajpath with President Pranab Mukherjee for the Jan 26 Republic Day Parade, at which he will be the chief guest, or travel in the Beast.
It’s customary for chief guests at the event to arrive and depart with the Indian president.
What is known is that the US Secret Service has told the Indian security agencies that Obama would only travel in the official vehicle of the US president.
The multi-layered bullet-proof car was flown into Delhi in a large cargo aircraft.
For the record, the seven-seater Beast is built on the Cadillac DTS platform. For obvious reasons, most of its details are classified for security reasons. What is known is that it incorporates a special night vision system. Special loops take the place of the regular door handles. Secret Service hold onto these when running alongside the car.
The car is protected against biochemical attacks and has its own oxygen supply. There is also a blood bank of the president’s blood type in the trunk.
The Beast was last here during Obama’s visit in Nov 2010. This might be the last time the car is seen here because by the time the next US president comes calling, another more sophisticated vehicle could have taken its place, given the rapid pace at which technology is progressing.