//India denies ATC 'takeover' by US officials

India denies ATC 'takeover' by US officials

NEW DELHI: Barely minutes before the arrival of US president George W Bush, ‘aerial scanning’ of the entire airport airspace was still on, even as nearly 60 secret service agents of the United States were ‘hovering around’ the Palam technical area, where Air Force One would be parked soon after its arrival.

They were in addition to a host of Indian security and intelligence officials from the Home Ministry, Intelligence Bureau and other agencies providing cover to the high-profile visitor.

Meanwhile, government officials on Wednesday turned down a US proposal to ‘takeover’ the Air Traffic Control (ATC) operations at the Indira Gandhi international airport here before Bush arrived here this evening.

Later a ‘compromise’ formula was worked out according to which ‘some’ US officials were to be allowed to be present at the ATC Towers during the landing of ‘Air Force One’, according to highly placed sources.

ATC officials denying this said nothing of this sort happened. “We are fully operating the ATC,” they added.

However, they added that US officials were assisting them. Earlier, a plane load of journalists from the US arrived here.