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Massive security arrangements for US President Bush's visit

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) It is a security apparatus which would even dwarf the "larger-than-life" technical wizardry seen in many of the James Bond films or the Star Wars movies.

The scheduled visit of US President George Bush in India, beginning from March 1, has led to an unprecedented security arrangements.

The sheer enormity of the security apparatus, being put in place by the US authorities in India before President Bush's visit, is mind boggling - more than a dozen aircraft from the US and different parts of world, besides the Air Force One aircraft in which the President travels are being flown to New Delhi. Accompanying them will be more than 700 personnel -- including American security forces who have been entrusted with the security of the US President during his engagements in India.

Three presidential helicopters - equipped with cutting edge landing systems that help them operate in near zero visibility - have already been flown in by cargo carriers in a disassembled state.

They are being put together piece by piece.

A special window is being set up at Delhi airport to clear American equipment for the Presidential visit. Special permissions are being given for the huge quantities of arms and ammunition being flown in by the American 'advance teams.' Infact, the kind of communication equipment being brought to fit into Bush's vehicle would not look out of place in a Star Wars film.

The high level of security arrangements for the visit of Mr Bush can be gauged by the fact that eight special teams have been constituted to protect the President during the visit, one each for about the eight official engagements scheduled in India.

An advance security and communications team from the US arrived in Hyderabad on Tuesday to prepare ground for President Bush's visit. During his visit to India, Mr Bush is likely to attend four functions. The members of the security team, who filled up nine trucks, surveyed the security arrangements at the hotel where the President would be staying during his visit at Hyderabad.

Delhi Police sources said two senior US embassy security officials visited the Central Hall of the Parliament on February 20 carrying a sketch of the security arrangements made for Bill Clinton when he addressed a joint session six years ago.

Though the exact itinerary of President Bush's visit is being kept secret, the US security officials' visit is being seen as an indication that Mr Bush may address a joint session of Parliament during his visit.

A team of US protocol officials arrived in Delhi yesterday to survey security arrangements here for President Bush's visit.

A full security drill is likely to take place at the Palam Air Force Base after February 27.

The tentative agenda of Mr Bush in Delhi includes a function in the Siri Fort auditorium. The Americans have requested the government not to make any advance announcement of the itinerary of Mr Bush as their agencies are concerned about the possible threat to their president from Osama Bin Laden.

UNI AR PA KN1543

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