If Obama does indeed follow the protocol and arrives with President Pranab Mukherjee at Rajpath, he will possibly be the first US President not to travel in his own highly-secured bomb-proof vehicle referred to as ‘The Beast’.
Ever since the assassination of President John F Kennedy who was riding an open top Lincoln Continental, the United States has pulled out all stops to make every succeeding Presidential vehicle virtually impenetrable.
The Beast is no different with its eight-inch thick body armour plating and five-inch thick bulletproof windows which insulate the President from all sorts of threats including chemical attacks.
Its doors weigh similar to those on a Boeing-757 aircraft. The eight-tonner runs on shred and puncture resistant Kevlar-reinforced tyres with steel rims underneath which ensure that the vehicle does not come to a halt even if its tyres get damaged.
Even the fuel tank is covered with a special foam that negates any possibility of an explosion. Apart from acting as a security shield for the President, the imposing vehicle has also been used to make political statements by successive Presidents.
In the recent past, Obama had the vehicle’s number plate carry the message ‘Taxation Without Representation’ to reflect the demand of the citizens of Washington DC to have representation in the US Congress.