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Mamallapuram Geared Up, High Security in Place ahead of Modi-Xi Informal Summit

The seaside town is swarming with police and Special Protection Group personnel, with the official machinery fully equipped for the summit.


Updated:October 11, 2019, 6:22 PM IST
Mamallapuram Geared Up, High Security in Place ahead of Modi-Xi Informal Summit
Police personnel stand guard near the Arjuna's Penance at the Mamallapuram heritage site, a day before the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping (PTI)

New Delhi: From a traditional welcome to glimpses of South Indian art forms and decorative arches, Chinese President Xi Jinping will be treated to a grand reception as he lands in Chennai on Friday for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the coastal town of Mamallapuram.

The seaside town is swarming with police and Special Protection Group personnel, with the official machinery fully equipped for the summit. Bulletproof makeshift structures have been put near the Shore Temple for the two leaders to hold talks.

Top police and government officials completed assessing the security preparedness and fine-tuned arrangements related to amenities for the leaders both in Chennai and in Mamallapuram.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami inspected the arrangements at the coastal town on Thursday evening. Entry to the group of ancient monuments has been blocked and barricades have come up around them.

A grand ornamental arch to welcome the two leaders has been prominently put up at the entrance to Mamallapuram from the East Coast Road. Traditional arches made of banana trees and sugarcane have been put in front of the ITC Grand Chola Hotel where Xi is scheduled to stay.

On his arrival, Xi will be welcomed by traditional peformances, including 'tappu' folk drum art display at the airport by about 500 artistes. A string of other cultural events have been lined up, including Bharatanatyam and Kathakali peformances.

Apart from the cultural programmes on schedule at the Shore temple on Friday evening, makeshift platforms have come up in several locations including in the state capital and in Mamallapuram for the cultural shows.

According to a tentative schedule made available to the media, Xi is scheduled to arrive at 2.10 pm and will exit the airport through the fifth VVIP gate and proceed to the nearby hotel. Four high-end cars have already arrived from China in a special aircraft for use by Xi.

The entire stretch of GST Road where the airport is located, the East Coast Road (ECR), which the foreign leader will take to reach Mamallapuram, sports a fresh new look.

Wall posters over the huge pillars of the Metrorail on the GST Road have been removed and an LED display board has also come up near the airport to welcome the Xi.

After a brief stay at the hotel, Xi is set to leave for Mamallapuram by road at 4 pm and will be welcomed by Modi there. Xi will visit the Pallava-era monuments of Arjuna's penance, the Five 'Rathas' (chariots), and the Shore temple with Modi. Following cultural events at the temple, Modi will host dinner for the visiting leader.

On Saturday, after talks between the two leaders and delegations of the two nations, Xi is set to leave here at 1.30 pm. Only designated officers are allowed for the official events.

State broadcaster Doordarshan alone has been permitted to station its outside broadcasting (OB) vans at Mamallapuram.

Traffic police, meanwhile, have announced diversions to the city from Mamallapuram and vice-versa on Friday and Saturday and have requested the public to cooperate in view of the visit of the foreign dignitary and the Prime Minister.

Some colleges on the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and its periphery have declared a holiday on Friday. Many Information Technology firms on OMR and ECR corridor have asked their employees to work from home in view of traffic diversions.

(With inputs from PTI)​

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