Happy Republic Day our readers. Today India is celebrating its 72nd Republic Day. It is one of the biggest events in the country that marks the day when the permanent constition came into power. Over the years, India has progressed immensely. On this day, we look back at the cars that the most important persons of the country used over the years. Here are all the cars used by the Prime Minister and Presidents of India in the past.
After Independence – Early years
Cadillac Country – President Rajendra Prasad
After India became independent on 15th August 1947. However, it was in 1950, when the constitution of India was adopted permanently and the President of India replaced the Governor-General post. Dr Rajendra Prasad became the first President of the independent India. The first official car for the President of Republic of India was a convertible Cadillac Country. It was imported for the president and over the years, many more Cadillacs joined the convoy for the young nation. Later, it was replaced by the made-in-India Hindustan Ambassador.
Rolls Royce Silver Wraith – Jawahar Lal Nehru
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Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru became the first prime minister of independent India. Nehru was a car enthusiast and moved around in numerous American and British made vehicles. The first official car for the Prime Minister of India was a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. The state car was gifted to Nehru by Lord Mountbatten himself and the vehicle was used by the Prime Minister for many years.
In the 80’s, Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister of India. He was the one who started the journey of bringing a modern, affordable car for the common man of India. Rajiv Gandhi was the person behind the Maruti Suzuki brand and that is why he drove around in a humble Maruti Suzuki Esteem. However, he was a car enthusiast too. He switched to a Range Rover Vogue that he received as a gift from the King of Jordan. The President of India continued using the Cadillacs around this time too.
In the 90s, after the assassination of two Prime Ministers of India, the security details and the cars were upgraded. Armoured vehicles became a norm for the prime minister and presidents of India that offer extremely high safety and security to the occupants.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class armoured
The W124 armoured S-Class was used by the presidents Shankar Dayal Sharma, K. R. Narayan and APJ Abdul Kalam. Shankar Dayal became the first Indian president to receive an armoured vehicle. The president used the limousine that is known for its exceptional quality and reliability. The vehicle served the next two presidents of India too, which means it lasted more than 15 years in service.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Pullman armoured
Pratibha Patil, Pranab Mukherjee & Ramnath Kovind
India’s first female president – Pratibha Patil upgraded her official car to the W221 Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman Guard armoured limousine. The exact specifications of this vehicle were not revealed due to the safety and security reasons. However, it is the best car in the business and can save the occupants from direct grenade explosions, machine gun fire and even IED explosives. The car was passed on to the next president Pranab Mukherjee and the currently serving president – Ramnath Kovind.
India’s prime minister’s cars
Narsimha Rao, IK Gujral, Dewe Gowda – Hindustan Ambassador
After India opened up for the foreign trade and exchange, the then Prime Minister of the country – PV Narsimha Rao retained the Hindustan Ambassador. That was an age when a lot of foreign manufacturers entered India, the prime minister preferred the good old made-in-India Ambassador. Even IK Gujral and Dewe Gowda used the Ambassador.
Atal Bihar Vajpayee
One of the most respected politicians in India – Atal Bihari Vajpayee started using the Hindustan Ambassador. However, after the terrorist attack on the Parliament House in 2001, the SPG upgraded the Ambassador to an BMW 7-Series Hi-Security. He was the first prime minister to use the BMW 7-Series Hi-Security.
Dr Manmohan Singh
Dr Manmohan Singh continued using the BMW 7-Series Hi-Security for his term in the government. The convoy cars were upgraded by the SPG but the official state car was retained for the whole tenure.
The current prime minister of India – Narendra Modi uses several vehicles to get around. Since he travels a lot, SPG has stationed vehicles in the different parts of the country. Narendra Modi’s official car remains the BMW 7-Series Hi-Security. However, he also uses a Toyota Land Cruiser armoured and a Land Rover Range Rover.
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