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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 12:28 GMT
Protecting the president

Dhaka police deployed on the streets
A massive security operation has been put into action across South Asia in preparation for President Clinton's tour of the region.

Yet despite the extra police forces, a bomb exploded near the Indian city of Agra, killing one, and injuring 16 others, just days before the president was due to visit.

Security check in Pakistan
The explosion has highlighted the volatile atmosphere of the region - which the president himself has labelled as "perhaps the most dangerous place in the world".

India and Pakistan came to blows last year over Kashmir, and tension is still running high following the military coup in Pakistan.

In the last 50 years, leaders of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have all been assassinated, and the current leaders of these countries seldom move around without being surrounded by bodyguards.

Security fears scupper plans

Security officials in Bangladesh have already cancelled Mr Clinton's scheduled visit to the village of Joypura, fearing the presence of Islamic or left-wing militants.

Elaborate security
Paramilitary troops
Main roads to close
8 teams of bodyguards
Sniffer dogs
Jamming devices

Precise details of the security operation surrounding the president's trip have been kept a closely guarded secret.

But it is speculated that in India he will be surrounded by no fewer than eight teams of bodyguards, the first three of which will be all-American.

Elite Indian forces will be used
One will be made up of India's elite Special Protection group, while another is rumoured to comprise members of the Delhi police force.

Some reports even say the president's bed has been specially brought over to India, along with some of his favourite American food.

Sniffer dogs

Mr Clinton's arrival in Pakistan could feature the tightest security of all, because Washington is known to be concerned about the threat posed by by radical militant groups fighting in Kashmir.

Already, police are using sniffer dogs to search for bombs in Islamabad ahead of the president's one-day visit, when he is due to meet the country's military leader and president.

Until recently, Islamabad has been free of bomb attacks, but in November two rockets were fired near the United States embassy in the city.

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Clinton in South Asia
Click here for a guide to President Clinton's tour
Key stories:
What did the trip achieve?
Protecting the president
South Asia's nuclear race
Clinton and the Kashmir question
Economic ties:
Americans eye South Asia
India's high-tech hopes
Village gets makeover
Story in pictures
Talking Point

 Kashmir: Should Clinton mediate?

South Asia Contents

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See also:

14 Mar 00 | South Asia
Village gears up for Clinton
13 Mar 00 | South Asia
India finds bed for Clinton
08 Mar 00 | South Asia
Pakistan hails Clinton visit
01 Feb 00 | South Asia
Clinton to visit India
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