NEW DELHI: The fidayeen attack on the Pathankot airbase and further inputs on more Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists being on the loose, including in the national Capital, have added to the workload of the Indian security agencies as they draw up a foolproof security plan for French president Francois Hollande’s visit here around the Republic Day.
The threat perception of Hollande is very high in view of the Paris attacks and the subsequent retaliatory airstrikes by the French forces on Islamic State (IS) territory, according to sources in the security establishment. “Given the cases of some Indians having joined IS and the growing instances of our youth getting radicalized by its online propaganda, with some being prevented from leaving the country to join the outfit, one cannot rule out the threat of a lone wolf attack here. This threat may only become more real ahead of or during Hollande’s upcoming visit,” said an officer.
“We have to take into account all these factors and accordingly tailor our security arrangements for his visit,” an officer said and hinted that Hollande’s security may be of the same level as accorded to US President Barack Obama when he was the chief guest for Republic Day parade last year.
This may mean closing of government officers and buildings around Rajpath; a multi-tier security set up comprising central forces and Delhi police; deployment of NSG snipers on high-rises in the vicinity of Rajpath; a likely bullet-proof enclosure for Hollande, the Indian President and the Prime Minister; aerial surveillance and installation of CCTV cameras along the route of Hollande’s carcade.
India had announced Hollande as the chief guest for the 2016 Republic Day celebrations last month.
“We are happy that the President of France Francois Hollande has accepted our invitation to be the Chief Guest at India’s 67th Republic Day celebrations on 26th January 2016. We look forward to welcome him warmly in India,” the MEA had said in its statement.
This will be the fifth time that a French leader will be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations — the maximum number from any country so far. Earlier leaders from the country had presided in 1976, 1980, 1998 and 2008.
Source: Defense News