Thursday, July 25, 2013

Not your average Joe: 700 cops guard US Vice-Prez

US Vice-President Joe Biden speaks at the BSE on Wednesday


Mumbai: US Vice-President Joe Biden spent his first day in the city meeting industry leaders and officials of the US consulate after delivering a policy speech at the Bombay Stock Exchange. 

    Biden, whose flight was delayed because of heavy rain on Tuesday night, was provided heavy security cover by the police and officials of the terror wing. Security support was also provided by the US secret service and the CIA. The city police special branch and state intelligence bureau were on high alert. 

    The visit led to minor traffic snarls through the day. Biden was mostly driven through Bandra-Worli Sea Link and south Mumbai roads. He was put up at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Biden will visit the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay on Thursday to interact with students. Apart
from meeting students who are working in the field of nano-electronics and other specialized areas, he also plans to speak on women’s empowerment. 

    “There is no fixed agenda but he was keen on visiting labs in nano-electronics and earth sciences departments. He also plans to interact with women on the campus and discuss women’s empowerment through higher education,” director of the institute, Devang Khakhar, said. For security reasons, Biden will interact with only a
small group of students, said officials. The US Vice-President will spend at least an hour on the campus. 

    The US secret service’s “surprise elements”, such as change of time for Biden’s programme, created problems for the city police. The US secret service men frequently made slight changes in the programme and time of Biden’s entry and exit. 

    The city police had deployed over 700 personnel for the bandobast.  “We had deployed over 50 watchers of the special branch at the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Taj Mahal Hotel and on the roads,” an officer said. “Four Quick Response Teams were deployed at Taj, four teams at BSE and two were kept reserve.”
    The police said they were tense since Biden’s visit came two days after a threat to blow up the US consulate in the city and Bengaluru on July 21.

The Times of India, July 25, 2013

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