Three-ring circus

The press now has accounts of the extraordinary security measures that are being enacted in preparation for Bush’s visit to India:

About 5,000 personnel including snipers, commandos and U.S. marines using helicopters, bomb detectors and electronic jammers will protect President George W. Bush during his visit to India this week, officials said on Monday.

The personnel would be part of a three-ring security cordon around the U.S. president and First Lady Laura Bush who are due to arrive in New Delhi for their maiden visit to the subcontinent on Wednesday, they said.

“He is a much-threatened VVIP. We are fully geared,” Manish Agarwal, a top Delhi police officer involved in security operations, told Reuters…

Besides the inner-ring of security forces, an outer cordon would be deployed “as deep as possible” to thwart any attack by a rocket launcher, Agarwal said.

A rocket launcher normally has a 1,000-metre (3,300 ft) range so we would be deployed in forests around venues,” he said. “We will have 360-degree rooftop surveillance around all the venues…” [Link]

I would hate to be a Secret Service agent on this trip. My brother once got a chance to meet Clinton but he was stopped by an agent while his two female companions were motioned forward. Another time an agent warned him that a sniper on the roof of the Chinese embassy had him in his sites. Just imagine being an agent in a whole country full of brown people! :)

There are already protests in India. Where will these people be with respect to the “three rings.”

Traffic in many areas in the capital will come to a near standstill on March 2 when Bush travels to his engagements from the Maurya Sheraton hotel to Hyderabad House, where he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Rashtrapati Bhavan, where President A P J Abdul Kalam will host a dinner for his American counterpart.

Traffic is also likely to be affected by the proposed demonstrations against the Bush visit planned by the Communists, the Samajwadi Party and the Janata Dal-Secular.

The Maurya Sheraton, where Bush and his entourage will stay, has been converted into a fortress with the US Secret Service screening every visitor.

Hotel employees have been issued special passes, which have to be produced along with their identity cards when they arrive on duty. [Link]

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All the security precautions are sure to rub local law enforcement the wrong way. Even when Bush went to Britain a few years ago the local authorities felt bullied by his security detail:

An unconfirmed report claims that American security officials wanted to handle Air Traffic Control themselves when Air Force One, the Presidential aircraft, arrives in New Delhi but the bizarre proposal was turned down. Indian engineers, they’ve been told, are capable of handling the situation but it would not be surprising if American officials are allowed to be around.

See related posts: Media Roundup: The Trip Part 1, Media Roundup: The Trip Part II

25 thoughts on “Three-ring circus

  1. Meanwhile, back in Cincinnati:

    While Mark and Margie Hauser hosted President Bush during a fund-raising trip to Greater Cincinnati on Thursday, it took their entire Indian Hill neighborhood – and a lot of outside help – to welcome the president. Cindy Krall, who lives across Deer Crossing Lane from the Hausers, did her part. That help came in a variety of forms – from allowing presidential security forces and bomb-sniffing dogs to snoop around her yard to opening her driveway for extra parking. “I said, ‘Whatever you need to do, just do it,’” she said. “A lot of the neighbors said, ‘Whatever you need.’” The president came to town for a fund-raiser for the re-election effort of U.S. Senator Mike DeWine, R-Cedarville. * * * Firemen made sure fire hydrants functioned properly, medics and air care units practiced landing helicopters in the neighborhood, florists unloaded rental trucks full of trees, and event planners constructed huge tents on the Hauser’s three-acre, $2.4 million estate. The Hausers chose their usual florist to provide flowers and greenery for the shindig, even though the Anderson Township-based Covent Garden Florist has only 12 employees. * * * “The actual floral part is not difficult,” said owner Dawn Hallmark. “The ins-and-outs of working for the president are a little difficult.” Short notice, strict timetables and multiple meetings with the Secret Service make catering to the president challenging, but rewarding, she said.

    Hmmm, I’m worried that the Secret Service may be phoning it in on this one. No effort to muzzle these blabbermouths about sensitive security and logistical matters. I mean, letting the enemy know about the trucks full of trees, the flowers, and the greenery? The security cordon is definitely compromised now.

    And why on earth isn’t anyone concerned about who’s running air traffic control at Cincinnati airport? After all, we’re not talking about red Utah, but purple Ohio. And if that weren’t enough already, Ohio is a state that not only looks likely to become less purple and more blue in 2006, but even looks it may become more brown in the coming election as well.

    Sounds like a place where he ought to have his own ATC detail for sure. :)

  2. protests by Communists and Secularists …

    I can understand if people are protesting against Bush/America because of something bad that they’ve done to them or to India. I could have even understood if they were protested against the nuclear deal. However, let’s see some of the reasons why they are protesting…

    They said that under President Bush the United States continued to occupy Iraq and oppress its people. It threatened Syria and targeted Iran on the issue of its nuclear programme. It backed the “naked oppression” of the Palestinian people by Israel and “ceaselessly indulges in a covert war” against Cuba and Venezuela, besides `threatening’ North Korea.

    I’ve never seen the Iranians or Palestinians or Venezuelans protest against anything except on issues that concern them. They don’t care two hoots about India or Indians. The whole world apparently looks after itself, except Indian Communists, Socialists and Secularists.

    The funny thing is, Iranians (and most other muslim countries) have brutally cracked down on Communists and Secularists within their own borders. Rapes in front of family members. Chopping down leftists noses, hands. Burying them alive. The works. Yet, our clueless leftists support them!! Only to show solidarity with Indian muslims (who have been largely quiet about the Bush visit).

    The leaders said U.S. imperialism used the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation to open the economies of the Third World countries for “rapacious exploitation” of multinationals.

    Translation: We are protesting against the very things that have brought India back from the brink of bankruptcy. If there is anything that brings any good to India, we will be there to protest.

    M. Nam

  3. Moornam they are not clueless, Alquaida recently learned the salaried soldier technique from them.

  4. Agreed that many Indian communist parties are quite hypocritical and clueless, MoorNam also said: Translation: We are protesting against the very things that have brought India back from the brink of bankruptcy. If there is anything that brings any good to India, we will be there to protest.

    Well, there have been plenty of examples, specially in Africa and South America (which has now moved leftwards) where policies prescribed by the IMF and WB have ended up in more unemployment, bankruptcy, and multi-nationals coming in to destroy local cottage industries. I’m all for opening up to competition, but the WB/IMF prescribe the same free-market policies for all countries, without taking into account other factors.

    In China they financed the Three Gorges Dam that led the destruction of untold villages to make way for the behemoth construction project. In India the WB had to be intensely lobbied (I believe successfully) to ask more questions of the environmental impact the Narmada Dam Project would have.

    You’re rather over-simplifying the impact of the WB/IMF.

  5. You’re rather over-simplifying the impact of the WB/IMF.

    er of

    Now that sounds over-simplified. When India has a power sector where line losses account for over 30% of the energy produced, I would rather have the IMF/WB imposing its conditionalities. There is no instance of a resource poor nation in our times that has become an economic success by following socialisitic policies. As for the number of resource rich nations that have squandered their wealth through socialism/communism/warlordism we can keep counting for a long time.

  6. In China they financed the Three Gorges Dam that led the destruction of untold villages to make way for the behemoth construction project. In India the WB had to be intensely lobbied (I believe successfully) to ask more questions of the environmental impact the Narmada Dam Project would have.

    ??? Clearly that statement was made by some one who doesnt even know the voting structure of either organization. China has a lot of sway into WB and IMF policies especialy when they pertain to china. It was not an external mysterious they. It was the chinese themselves who asked for it.

  7. Sunny,

    WB/ IMF has done mistakes in past, and one should not give them carte blanche.

    However, It was WB/ IMF that almost implored then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh (now PM) to make various structural changes that led to opening of Indian economy when India was close to defaulting loan payments. He had the wisdom to go through the changes. Even then things moved very slow, it was Y2K business that showed India could be excellent back-room guys.

    I do not know if you remember of India of yonder years – low voltage bulbs everywhere. In last two-three years, there has been incredible changes that almost never happened. I have never been to China. India has gone dramatic change that is eye opening.

    A lot of protestors in India right now are being “bored” argumentative Indians.

  8. I’ve never seen the Iranians or Palestinians or Venezuelans protest against anything except on issues that concern them. They don’t care two hoots about India or Indians. The whole world apparently looks after itself, except Indian Communists, Socialists and Secularists.

    Indian communists and socialists therefore must be more similar to the Western variety :)

    I don’t know about Iranians and Venezuelans, but to be fair the Palestinians have more than enough on their plate.

  9. Hmm… the air traffic control issue is a bit extreme. I wonder if President Bush makes similar requests when he flies to France? I feel a million times safer with India’s airport security and screening system than I do anywhere else in the world. It’s incredibly thorough and repetitive. The least secure, and most chaotic airport environment, in my opinion, is Charles de Gaulle in Paris.

    Quite interesting…

  10. Quite obvious that the protest picture posted above is of a rally held in Kashmir. Not sure which side of the border? Any guesses?

  11. Interesting article from Comrade Prakash Karat. General Secretary Communist party of India (Marxist)

    Secondly, the strategic partnership facilitates the US design of acquiring vantage positions in the Indian economy, which has huge potential in terms of resources and markets. Thirdly, the partnership, if cemented, will restrict IndiaÂ’s sovereignty, and obstruct the path of independent socio-economic development and nation-building(Link)

    Nation builing from the same party which called

    Subhas chandra Bose = Tojo’s dog

    Gandhi = Lap dog of imperialism

    Nehru = Running dog of imperialism

    1947 Freedom = Yeh azadi jhuta hai.

    Chinese attack and subsequent colonisation of Tibet = Fault of Western Imperialism

    1962 War = Macmahon line is Western imperial creation

    China’s assistance in Pakistan’s Missile and Nuclear projects = No comments

  12. Oh and did anyone mention that the communists supported Jinnah in creation of ultra secular Pakistan? Since then, the alliance has been deeping by the day.

    About 40 groups, including the Jamaat-e-Islami, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), Tameer-e-Millat, the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, their affiliated trade unions and civil liberties groups have formed a forum to chalk out protests.

    The alliance even spills beyond India.

  13. As usual, bring in the communist factor and we can end the discussion. I am not so naive to think that there isn’t any arm-twisting going on here in terms of what U.S wants India to do.

  14. I wonder if President Bush makes similar requests when he flies to France?

    Heh heh. What a great setup.

    Answer 1: No, he just makes them change the names of all of their food. Answer 2: Please don’t give him any ideas. Answer 3: ….

  15. No amount of arm-twisting could make India abandon it’s suicidal mixed economy approach (actually mixed up with licence-permit Raj and stifling private capital as J.R.D Tata emphasized)and allignment with Soviet block. India’s ruling elite got a rude shock when the government went bankrupt in 1991.

    As Sunanda K. Datta Ray said recently

    To that extent, India’s interest is America’s, and the world’s largest and oldest democracies are indeed natural allies, to repeat that overworked cliché.

  16. The whole world apparently looks after itself, except Indian Communists, Socialists and Secularists.

    Oh you forgot to include radical Indian Muslims as well. They don’t care that India gains a lot from its new friendship/alignment with US. They don’t care that Indians prosper because of a services export boom to the US. Their aspirations are just not in sync with the rest of Indians. They too are more concerned about their Muslim brothers in faraway lands. They blindly ignore how generous America has been in helping the majority Muslim victims of the earthquake in Pakistan, tsunami in Indonesia, the war crimes in Bosnia. Bunch of ingrates. They don’t care that right after 9/11 and ever since Bush has called Islam a religion of peace and a great one to preempt any backlash in the West.

  17. Sepia Keepers:

    May I paste [entire text] an interesting [Nuke deal] piece from the Wall Street Journal? Needs subscription…

  18. I did catch charlie rose interviewing ManMohan Singh. His interview with rose when he was in nyc was more informative on most issues(including indias nuclear position). ManMohan sticks to one line and tends to repeat it, even when probed into anything he wouldnt explain the position any better nor would reveal any other insight into facts/logic regarding the position. He did that on issues regarding china and iran. So in all i didnt really learn anthing new here. He did hint that he would be pushing for security council seat. If you read between the lines he may be hinting at more! but so far it hasnt been ManMohan’s style, but Krishn is also knowns as ManMohan :-) It is a possibility that he is hinting that more can be done on issues, but deals are asymetric. In that case the hints may be:- Fine we drop iran pipeline but at what are we getting in return? Fine we’ll be a dick wrt china but what are we getting in return?

    The nuclear deal benifits both parties almost symetricaly. India gets energy which itself shields india from price swings but the US as well b/c india is a growing consumer. here is where the asymetry is? US desire to see intensive separation and its behind the scene china demands are where asymetry shows up. if US wants india as a counterweight then why separation. Chinese are not bound by any such separations. chinese arsenal is larger varied and more sophisticated. So the hints are give us more and we give you more.

  19. Regarding the whole Nuclear thing, my money is on NO DEAL. The US will not accept any concessions and Indians will not give more concessions than they have already offered, as the N-scientist community is already upset by parts of the deal.

    If, Indian N-scientists do some kind of break thru’ with regards to Thorium, some time in future, that will completely change the equation. As after 1998 N-tests the West found out that India EXISTS, the same way if a major Thorium type development occured in India, West will start talking concessions. The only language understood is that of POWER.

  20. While the communists of India charge Bush with being a warmonger in the Middle East, their own well-armed groups seem to be keeping themselves busy:

    Maoists massacre 25 ahead of Bush’s visit to India

    “This month alone the rebels have killed 19 security officials and more than a dozen residents in Dantewada district. Officials said that around 100 people died in 2005 in Maoist violence in Chattisgarh, one of India’s newest states.”

    Stratfor has their own take on the Bush trip: The U.S. President’s Risky Trip to India

    “However, the tight security surrounding the president could force the perpetrators to target a location other than New Delhi or Hyderabad, Bush’s two destinations, in an effort to exploit the international media coverage generated by the visit.”