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Pak must punish 26/11 perpetrators, India true partner: Obama

By EMN Updated: Jan 23, 2015 10:41 pm


US President Barack Obama has said “safe havens” of terrorism inside Pakistan were not acceptable and those behind Mumbai terror attacks must be brought to justice.
“I have made it clear that even as the US works with Pakistan to meet the threat of terrorism, safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable and that those behind the Mumbai terrorist attack must face justice,” Obama said in an interview to India Today magazine which has been published in the upcoming issue of the weekly.Obama, who begins his three-day visit to India Sunday, said: “As president, I have made sure that the US has been unrelenting in its fight against terrorist groups — a fight in which Indians and Americans are united.”
He said those killed in the Sep 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US included Indians and there were Americans among those who were killed in the Nov 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Pakistan Thursday banned Mumbai attack mastermind Hafeez Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and slapped foreign travel restrictions on Saeed.
“On my previous visit to India, my first stop was the memorial at the Taj Hotel to pay my respects to the victims, meet with survivors and send a strong message to the Indian people that we stand together in defence of our security and our way of life,” he added.
The US president said that like other people across the world, Indians and Americans were horrified at the senseless slaughter of so many students and teachers at a school in Peshawar in Pakistan Dec 16 last year, which was “a painful reminder that terrorists threaten us all”.
“We have deepened our cooperation against terrorism, and we work together to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” he said.

Armored ‘Beast’ for Obama’s R-Day ride

The stunning features of the US Presidential vehicle makes it clear why the Secret Service wants to unleash the ‘Beast’ during President Barack Obama’s Republic Day outing in Delhi.
If Obama does indeed follow the protocol and arrives with President Pranab Mukherjee at Rajpath, he will possibly be the first US President not to travel in his own highly-secured bomb-proof vehicle referred to as ‘The Beast’.
Ever since the assassination of President John F Kennedy who was riding an open top Lincoln Continental, the United States has pulled out all stops to make every succeeding Presidential vehicle virtually impenetrable.
The Beast is no different with its eight-inch thick body armour plating and five-inch thick bulletproof windows which insulate the President from all sorts of threats including chemical attacks.
Its doors weigh similar to those on a Boeing-757 aircraft. The eight-tonner runs on shred and puncture resistant Kevlar-reinforced tyres with steel rims underneath which ensure that the vehicle does not come to a halt even if its tyres get damaged.
Even the fuel tank is covered with a special foam that negates any possibility of an explosion.
Apart from acting as a security shield for the President, the imposing vehicle has also been used to make political statements by successive Presidents. In the recent past, Obama had the vehicle’s number plate carry the message ‘Taxation Without Representation’ to reflect the demand of the citizens of Washington DC to have representation in the US Congress.
The Beast, based on a Cadillac DTS is the first Presidential limousine not to have a specific model name.
The vehicle is an amalgamation of features sourced from different vehicles under the General Motors brand with its chassis, doors, headlights, side mirrors and door handles having different origins.
Despite the oft-cited declarations of invulnerability, ‘moving fortress’ is not as invincible as it would seem, with the car showing a penchant for breaking down for unknown reasons several times in the past.
During the President’s state visit to Israel in 2013, the car broke down and had to be ingloriously towed away atop a truck.
Environmentalists also scoff at the vehicle’s predilection for consuming fuel at a very high rate giving a mileage of 3.4 km per litre.
While the Beast may be the centre of attraction, the Indian Presidential vehicle packs quite a punch as well.
Since 2012, the President of India travels in a heavily armoured black Mercedes Benz S600 (W221) Pullman Guard. The armour is designed to protect against military rifle shots, bomb shrapnels and other explosives.

Terrorists may avoid Delhi, target some other place, fear agencies

Security agencies apprehend that terrorists may target some part of the country during the visit of US President Barack Obama, avoiding Delhi, and have alerted state governments, particularly Jammu and Kashmir, about the “serious threat.”
The agencies apprehend that the terrorists may carry out strikes like the Chittisinghpura massacre in Kashmir on the eve of the visit of the then US President Bill Clinton in 2000.
They have alerted state governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh besides Police and Intelligence apparatus of Mumbai and Jammu and Kashmir about the serious terror threat posed during the visit of Obama who is scheduled to start his three days visit from January 25, sources said. During the India visit of Clinton in March 2000, Lashkar-e-Toiba terror outfit had targeted Chittisinghpura village in Kashmir, killing 36 people.
The intelligence agencies have warned of possibility of similar attack in some part of the country, they said. Unprecedented security arrangements have been put in place to ensure safe visit of Obama who will be the first US President to be the Chief Guest on Republic Day function with seven layer security cordon prepared for him.
The sources said, in addition to tight security in the national capital, Mumbai Police has also been asked to tighten security around sensitive spots in Mumbai including the Siddhivinayak temple, South Mumbai hot spots like Taj Palace Hotel, Gateway of India and other tourist location. Similarly, the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir have been asked to be on high alert and ensure tight security at vulnerable areas.
The governments have been asked to ensure security of tourist places, places of religious importance and other areas where large public gathering takes place like courts etc.
The national capital will turn into an impregnable fortress with every movement being under the watch of multi-agency control room which will monitor the surveillance operations here. The security agencies have put the security apparatus of Delhi on the highest alert even though there is no specific intelligence input about a possible terror strike here, officials engaged with the preparations said.
The Indian intelligence agencies, security agencies are working in close coordination with the US Secret Service which guards the US President. The US Secret Service personnel have carried out detailed survey of the routes to be taken by the Obama and Rajpath where he will be seated along with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hosts of other VVIPs to watch the annual parade.

By EMN Updated: Jan 23, 2015 10:41:28 pm