The US President, Mr. Barack Obama being welcomed by the President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on his arrival at Ceremonial Reception, at forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi on January 25, 2015.

Obama visit Day 1: Officials too face security heat (Sidelights)

The US President, Mr. Barack Obama inspecting the Guard of Honour, at the ceremonial reception, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on January 25, 2015.

The US President, Mr. Barack Obama inspecting the Guard of Honour, at the ceremonial reception, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on January 25, 2015.

Common citizens were not the only ones who faced problems due to the unprecedented security net cast around Hyderabad House and areas near India Gate in the national capital before the India-US summit level talks.

Eyewitnesses said Indian Ambassador to the United States S. Jaishanker and Joint Secretary (America) Vinay Kwatra of the External Affairs Ministry had a tough time getting into the venue for the talks.

Jaishanker was heard telling police personnel that “the prime minister was waiting for me inside”, but to no avail. Both then called up some senior officials before negotiating their entry into the high-security zone.


Dog’s day out

Minutes before the scheduled arrival of Obama, who was running late by 15 minutes, a stray dog broke through the tight security cordon and ambled in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, probably giving a taste of the real India to the visiting American delegation.

Officials made little effort to stop the dog who seemed to be at ease within the precincts of the majestic president’s house.

As the light brown mongrel took a round of the lined up guard of honour, photographers had a great time capturing shots from all directions.

In fact it was the media, which pointed out the dog to the security personnel present, who then tried to shoo away the canine.

Some US reporters, who were present in the media gallery were also seen having a good laugh. However, when chased, the dog tried to run up the stairs of the forecourt drawing more laughs.


Nattily dressed ministers

As everyone waited for US President Barack Obama at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Sunday, all eyes were on the smartly dressed union ministers, including Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is usually seen in casual half-sleeve coloured shirts or over-sized sweat shirts.

This time, however, he was wearing trousers, a white full sleeve shirt paired with a dark Nehru jacket. He was followed by a dapper-looking Minister in Waiting Piyush Goyal, who wore a formal dark brown bandhgala and looked very happy with the role he was playing.

Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu also stood out. Naidu, who is usually dressed in a traditional white dhoti, was seen in trousers and a Nehru jacket.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was resplendent in a red and white and gold sari. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was also wearing a formal dark-coloured bandgala.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was the only one wearing traditional Indian attire – a white kurta pyjama and a Nehru jacket.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself changed into a pinstriped bandhgala from his morning attire of light cream-coloured kurta pyjama with beige Nehru jacket paired with a red shawl.


Obama’s gift draws eyes

Authorities at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat had an interesting tidbit to display after Obama’s visit.

A rock from Martin Luther King junior memorial in the US was put on display for the media people, hungry for some information.

Officials said the rock was gifted by Obama, who has described Gandhi as an “inspirational figure”, during his last visit to Rajghat in Nov 8, 2010.


A fidgety horse at guard of honour

As the entire Indian top brass, including President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior members of the union cabinet waited for Obama to arrive, it was a horse in the cavalcade of the guard of honour that seemed to be getting impatient for the VIP arrival.

The horse, a part of the mounted cavalcade and the President’s Bodyguard, was seen fidgeting and was quickly controlled by his guard.



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