Come January and large parts of New Delhi virtually turn into a fortress ahead of the annual Republic Day parade. The president, prime minister, a visiting head of state, senior members of the government, the military top brass, the country's political elite and many spectators gather at Rajpath to watch the parade. It is a huge security challenge.
This year, for the first time, to counter any possible terrorist attack on the parade using non-conventional weapons, the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) will deploy a team of 90 personnel from its CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) unit at Rajpath during the parade.
According to PTI, the national capital is already under ground-to-air security cover ahead of and during Republic Day celebrations, with thousands of armed personnel keeping a tight vigil.
The Hindustan Times quoted an NDRF official as saying, "In view of the increased threat this year we have deployed two teams comprising 90 personnel with sophisticated equipment. With HAZMAT vehicle, which is a specialist vehicle to provide protection against CBRN threat, we are extra prepared. Earlier, NDRF teams used to be in the periphery of the Rajpath but this time they will be close to VIP enclosure and the vehicle will also be there."
The area in and around the capital will be guarded by nearly 50,000 security personnel from the Delhi Police and central security forces. A senior police officer told PTI that the police will also use anti-drone technology to thwart any attack or identify any suspicious flying object.
The HAZMAT vehicle is equipped with a hazardous gas vapour identifier, smart bio sensors, and an isotope identifier, among other tools to detect any chemical or nuclear threat, the Hindustan Times reported.
The enhanced security measures are meant to keep up with new methods being adopted by terrorist groups worldwide. The Intelligence Bureau has already issued high alerts ahead of the Republic Day.
Standard measures such as stationing security personnel atop buildings and the installation of CCTV cameras, have also been put in place.
(With inputs from PTI)
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