Obama’s India visit: India Gate closed to people ahead of Republic Day

New Delhi (IANS): Entry to World War I monument India Gate was shut for people from Monday in view of heightened security for US President Barack Obama who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade Jan 26. US and Indian agencies Monday continued to work out issues concerning security in the capital.

Sources said security officials of the two countries had discussions concerning deployment and there were suggestions from US officials for deploying snipers on buildings in the vicinity of Rajpath.

The sources said the suggestion to deploy only US snipers was not likely to be accepted as the Indian personnel had the requisite expertise.

A seven-layer security ring will be thrown around the VVIP enclosure at Rajpath during the parade to be witnessed by the US president and other dignitaries.

Security around Rajpath was beefed up Monday. The Central Reserve Police Force has been deployed at various points leading to India Gate.

The roads leading to the British-built India Gate, a symbol of Delhi, have been barricaded.

The Republic Day parade originates from Vijay Chowk, close to Rashtrapati Bhavan, another British-built building.

The armoured and marching columns march down the tree-lined Rajpath.

While the armoured contingents halt at the India Gate ground, soldiers and others who march walk all the way up to the Red Fort in Old Delhi.

Traffic restrictions have been imposed in the heart of the city. Key roads like Rafi Marg, Janpath and Man Singh Road will be closed for people Jan 24-26.

Special Commissioner Mukesh Chander (Traffic) said: “There will be some restrictions in New Delhi area. People can dial 1059 for traffic-related information.”

The road leading to Maurya Sheraton hotel, where the US president is expected to stay, will be closed Jan 26 for people. The hotel has been thoroughly sanitised.