With the most awaited grand G20 Summit being around the corner, New Delhi is all set to welcome the world’s most powerful leaders. According to the officials, the city will be guarded by nearly 130,000 security personnel, including the 80,000-strong Delhi Police. The occasion will be hosted at the expansive and renovated Pragati Maidan, a multipurpose convention and exhibition centre located in the heart of one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
The two-day summit, starting September 9, will have the most high-profile guest list India has ever welcomed, from U.S. President Joe Biden to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman. However, Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to skip the meeting, sources in New Delhi and Beijing have said.
Leaders from Japan, Australia, France and Germany are also among those expected to attend, although Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is facing criticism from the West for the war in Ukraine, has said he will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The heads of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and World Health Organisation will also be present.
According to a spokesperson from the Indian Air Force, they are implementing extensive measures for integrated aerospace defence in Delhi and its vicinity. The spokesperson elaborated that the Indian military, including the Air Force, in collaboration with the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces, will be deploying anti-drone systems to counter potential aerial threats. Additionally, around 400 firefighters will be readily available for emergency response.
Specialized security control centers are being established at the event venue, and heightened security protocols have been put in place at prominent hotels like the ITC Maurya Hotel, where President Biden will be accommodated. According to the media reports, the government has also leased 20 bullet-proof limousines at a cost of 180 million Indian rupees ($2.18 million) for ferrying leaders. Many world leaders travel with their own bodyguards and vehicles. India has requested countries to be “rational” about the number of cars and personnel that they bring, but has not put any restrictions.
“This is a historic and momentous moment,” said Dependra Pathak, a special commissioner of the Delhi Police who is in charge of security arrangements in the city. Thousands of personnel from other government security services including the home guards and the para-military Border Security Force will be brought in to maintain law and order, he said.