A multi-layered security blanket was thrown around Chandigarh as French President Francois Hollande arrived there on a three-day visit. Hollande will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade.
Besides unprecedented security arrangements, the city held a different look for the high-profile meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hollande.
Though Hollande and PM Modi were in Chandigarh only for four-and-a-half hours, the security set up in the city was unprecedented, specially looking at how both Hollande and PM Modi are in terror outfit ISIS’s hit list.
In his short visit to Chandigarh, Hollande after landing at Chandigarh Airport at 1 pm, headed out to Hotel Taj before taking a tour of the city.
Hollande in the past had expressed his desire to see Chandigarh as it has a French connection.
Chandigarh was planned by French architect Le Corbusier and Hollande would be the second French president to visit the city to see Le Corbusier’s work.
After landing up at Hotel Taj, Hollande visited the Rock Garden, Capitol Complex and Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10, some of the city’s well known tourist places.
Though Prime Minister Modi was not there to receive Hollande at Chandigarh airport, they both met at Chandigarh’s famous Rock Garden.
Besides Hollande, a group of ministers and French businessmen also accompanied him.
To make their visit secured, the presence of security personnel was not only beefed up, but a significant number of security checks could also be seen across the city, especially on the routes that Hollande and PM Modi took.
PM Modi and Hollande also visited the Government Museum and Art Gallery where they saw some of the fossils that were found during excavation at the foothills of Shivalik.
The excavation was carried out by a joint team of Indian and French scientists and the fossils were put on display for this special visit.
After visiting all the main tourist attractions of Chandigarh, the duo headed back to Hotel Taj to attend a summit that aims to create the framework for an open and action-oriented dialogue between the two countries.
Top business leaders and government leaders from both countries are meeting at this summit and will have a discussion there.
The event is being addressed by both the leaders and after the gathering they will exchange agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between the two countries.
The real strength of the Indo French economic partnership. The 2 leaders witness signing of 16 B2B Agreements pic.twitter.com/ThNC30AYeU
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) January 24, 2016
The biggest attention during this visit was on the talks about the Rs 60,000-crore Rafale jets deal, which the French president earlier indicated is on the “right track”.
After the gathering, both PM Modi and President Hollande left for Delhi.
Though the event is high profile, all public places, including the venues where the French President and Prime Minister Modi visited were kept open, with restrictions only being imposed on movement of vehicles on the routes the two took.
With regard to security, around 5000 special security personnel were guarding the city these include personnel from SPG, ITBP and BSF apart from combined police forces from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.