Woman officer leads guard of honour for Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan

Woman officer leads guard of honour for Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan

Wing Commander Puja Thakur led the ceremonial guard of honour for US President Barack Obama at  Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday.

Wing Commander Thakur walked Obama for the inspection of the tri-service guard of honour. This comes as 'nari shakti' (woman power) is the theme for Republic Day parade this year where Obama is the chief guest.

This Jan 26 will also be the first time when women contingents of the army, air force and navy will walk down the Rajpath.

"It is a great honour and we are so grateful for your extraordinary hospitality," Obama said after the ceremony, where he was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour and a 21-gun salute.

The US President was received at the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan by a cavalcade of the President's Bodyguards dressed in bright red with contrasting blue turbans.

Forming a ring around his Cadillac 'the Beast', the guards escorted him to the central area of the red-sand forecourt of the estate.

The precinct of Rashtrapati Bhavan was decked up for the visiting Head of the State, who will be the first US President to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day function tomorrow.

The entire stretch from his hotel to the Rashtrapati Bhavan was swarming with security personnel and snipers positioned at roof tops who provided an unassailable ring of security around him.

Upon his arrival at the forecourt, Obama was received by the President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He was escorted to the stage as the national anthems of the United States and India played in the background.

Soon after the Guard of Honour, Obama was escorted to a canopy where the President, the Prime Minister along with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister

Manohar Parrikar, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung received him. Mukherjee introduced Obama to the Cabinet Ministers and other dignitaries.

Following the ceremonially welcome, Obama headed to the Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

He was accompanied by union Minister Piyush Goyal. Obama observed a moment of silence, and took a 'parikrama' around the memorial. He placed a huge wreath and the paid floral tributes at the memorial

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