With Global A-Listers Set to Arrive for 2 Mega Events, Gandhinagar Turns Into a Fortress

Gandhinagar:  Gandhinagar in Gujarat is preparing for the arrival of some global A-listers as it hosts two mega events later this week and the city has been turned into a fortress with unprecedented security amid a heightened threat perception after a Pakistani boat blew up off the state's coast last week.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the two-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an annual event where the Indian diaspora meets and engages, on Thursday, January 8 at the grand Mahatma Mandir. About 4,000 NRIs are expected to attend.

On Sunday, the PM will attend the inauguration at the same venue of the Vibrant Gujarat summit, a biennial event he started as Gujarat's chief minister, that has in the past brought together India's Industry leaders on the same stage. This year, it goes global. 33 CEOs and top executives have confirmed participation already, among them World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

More are expected to confirm their participation. Among those invited are top CEOs including Bill Gates and Jack Ma.

US secretary of state John Kerry, UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon and several heads of state from African and European countries will also be present at the inauguration of the three-day summit.

A CEO's conclave is planned on Sunday at the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in the city, about five kilometres from the Mahatma Mandir. It will be attended by the Prime minister.

Police sources said that besides local cops, two detachments of the elite National Security Guard commandos are being deployed in Gandhinagar and twin city Ahmedabad.

"About 3000 officials have been hand-picked for security duties. These officials are from the Additional director general rank right down to sub inspector ranks. Besides, eight companies of the SRP, more than a dozen bomb disposal squads and several Quick Reaction Teams of the state police are being deployed," DIG, Gandhingar range, RR Bhagat told NDTV.

Mr Bhagat said that apart from general terror threats to large events, there have been specific intelligence alerts particularly after the Pakistani vessel was blown up by its crew when intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard about 350 kilometres from the Porbander coast last week.

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