Much like Maharana Pratap had his trustful aid, Chetak, India’s glorious and multifold history is adorned with brave leaders and their rides, chariots and in some cases, their transport in battle. As India celebrates its 75th anniversary of independence on Monday, 15th August 2022, and as we take set forth towards a new era of leadership, let us take a moment to look at some of our country’s past leaders and their ‘chariots’ in the modern-age warfare.
Starting with the most recent addition to the lineup, we have India’s latest and first tribal leader to be sworn as the President of India, Droupadi Murmu. The top lady rides the Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman Guard limousine as her official Presidential vehicle. The luxury car is priced at a whopping 9 crore and reportedly, the Pullman Guard limousine is considered one of the safest vehicles in India. After her election, she was spotted travelling from the President’s House (Rashtrapati Bhawan) to the Parliament in the presidential limousine.
President of India, Droupadi Murmu
The Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman Guard gets ERV (Explosive Resistant Vehicles) 2010-level and VR9-level protection for its occupants. This armoured luxury saloon can withstand upto 15kgs of TNT from a distance of 2 metres and bullets fired from an AK-47 will fail to penetrate the glass or body of the sedan. India’s 15th President, Droupadi Murmu’s VVIP transportation can also withstand 7.62x51mm rifle rounds
Additional safety features include run-flat tyres, a self-sealing fuel tank and a fire-extinguishing system.
India’s last President, before Droupadi Murmu was Ram Nath Kovind and the same Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman Guard sanctioned to the current President, served him during his time in office. It was inducted in the presidential services when Late Pranab Mukherjee was the president of India.
India’s first female President Pratibha Patil
At the beginning of her tenure, India’s first female President Pratibha Patil was upgraded from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class W140 to W221 S-Class S600 Pullman limousine. It was with Pratibha Patil that the next generation of the S600 was employed for use by the head of state.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
India’s 11th President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, was one of the most adorned Presidents of India. When he served between 2002 to 2007, the ‘People’s President’ was ferried by a Mercedes Benz S-Class W140 like many other previous and future presidents. He later switched back to a Hindustan Ambassador at the end of his term in 2007.
The first Indian president to use a bullet and grenade-proof limousine was Shankar Dayal Sharma. The W140 limousine that was sanctioned to him was later passed on to his successor, KR Narayanan.
Did you know that the make, model, and registration numbers of the cars used by the President of India are a state secret? These cars do not bear a license plate and are recognized by the presence of the national emblem – the Ashoka Pillar.