US President Barack Obama was today received by President Pranab Mukherjee in the forecourt of the imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan where he was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour and a 21—gun salute.

“It is a great honour and we are so grateful for your extraordinary hospitality,” Obama said after the ceremony.

The US President was received at the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan by a cavalcade of the President’s Bodyguards dressed in bright red with contrasting blue turbans.

Forming a ring around his Cadillac ‘the Beast’, the guards escorted him to the central area of the red-sand forecourt of the estate.

The precinct of Rashtrapati Bhavan was decked up for the visiting Head of the State, who will be the first US President to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day function tomorrow.

The entire stretch from his hotel to the Rashtrapati Bhavan was swarming with security personnel and snipers positioned at roof tops who provided an unassailable ring of security around him.

Upon his arrival at the forecourt, Obama was received by the President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He was escorted to the stage as the national anthems of the United States and India played in the background.

Obama inspected the inter-services Guard of Honour. Wing Commander Puja Thakur, who was the Guard Commander, greeted him.

Soon after the Guard of Honour, Obama was escorted to a canopy where the President, the Prime Minister along with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung received him.

Mukherjee introduced Obama to the Cabinet Ministers and other dignitaries.