Saturday, 17 January 2015

US asks for a no-fly zone over Rajpath on R-Day, India says no...........

NEW DELHI: India has politely turned down a suggestion by Barack Obama's security teams that a 5-km "no-fly zone" be imposed around the majestic Rajpath during the Republic Day parade, which will have the US President as the chief guest for the first time.

A no-fly zone would have led to the customary flypast on January 26 being cancelled. "The US team was told that this was simply not possible," said a source. The US security detail was apparently in touch with the directorate general of civil aviation about the no-fly zone but the proposal was shot down by military authorities.

"In any case, only twin-engine military aircraft and helicopters fly during the Republic Day parade. The actual flypast duration over Rajpath is around 10 minutes. Otherwise, throughout the year there is a no-fly zone over Rashtrapati Bhavan, South and North Blocks, the PM's residence and other nearby places," he added.

Sources said 18 fighter jets, five aircraft and 10 helicopters will take part in the flypast this year, flying at heights from 60-metre to 300-metre above the ground. It will include the Navy's first supersonic fighter MiG-29K as well as IAF fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Jaguars, which will take off from different airbases in north India and converge over the Rajpath.

Obama will also get to see specialized military aircraft acquired from his country like the C-130J 'Super Hercules', C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift and Poseidon-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft in deals worth upwards of $7 billion. More repeat orders as well as new ones worth $2.5 billion for Apache attack and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters are also in the pipeline.

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