US President Barack Obama arrives at Rajpath in his official vehicle The Beast

New Delhi: Republic Day parade chief guest, US President Barack Obama, Monday arrived at Rajpath in his official vehicle The Beast, in a departure from tradition.

It's customary for chief guests at the event to arrive and depart with the Indian president in his car from Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Obama was accompanied by his wife Michelle.

Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama arrives to attend India's Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26. He will become the first US president to be chief guest at the Republic Day parade. Pic/AFP

President Pranab Mukherjee arrived separately at the venue shortly after.

However, the US Secret Service had told the Indian security agencies that Obama would only travel in the official vehicle of the US president.

The multi-layered bullet-proof car was flown to Delhi in a large cargo aircraft.

Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama were meanwhile greeted with loud cheers as they arrived at Rajpath.

Modi arrived at the saluting dais after paying homage to the unknown soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate and was received by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Modi then waved at the crowd and was greeted with loud cheers.

The seven-seater Beast is built on the Cadillac DTS platform and most of its details are classified for security reasons. What is known is that it incorporates a special night vision system. Special loops take the place of the regular door handles. Secret Service agents hold onto these when running alongside the car.

The car is protected against biochemical attacks and has its own oxygen supply. There is also a blood bank of the president's blood type in the trunk.

The Beast was last here during Obama's visit in November 2010. This might be the last time the car is seen here because by the time the next US president comes calling, another more sophisticated vehicle could have taken its place, given the rapid pace at which technology is progressing.

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