Folk dancers in colourful attires, cultural tableaux and thousands of cheering locals lined the 8-km-long stretch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu’s grand roadshow from Ahmedabad airport to Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat on Wednesday.

Modi, along with Netanyahu and his wife Sarah arrived at the Ahmedabad airport at around 11 am and were received by Modi as folk dancers welcomed the dignitaries.

The trio then climbed aboard a black Land Cruiser SUV and began the roadshow as thousands of locals cheered and waived at the dignitaries while holding flags of India and Israel and placards endorsing the strong bond between the two nations.

Contrary to earlier reports, the leaders travelled in the bullet proof SUV instead of an open jeep. In September 2017, Abe and Modi had travelled the same 8-km distance in an open jeep.

The roadshow that began at around 11.20 am culminated at around 11.55 am at the Sabarmati Ashram where apostle of peace Mahatma Gandhi spent considerable time of his life.

Over 50 stages had been set up along the route jointly by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and the Gujarat government. Almost 50,000 people were present along the stretch, as per estimates.

This was Modi’s first to his home state after the assembly elections.

Meanwhile, tight security cover was in place with a km-long periphery turned into a fortress with 12 teams from ‘Chetak commandos’, the Quick Response Teams, the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and police guarding the venues.

Special squads were be deployed at high-rise buildings along the route and also on the Sabarmati river in speedboats when both the dignitaries were in the Ashram. The dignitaries spent around 20 minutes at the Ashram.

Both the Prime Ministers will now head to the ‘I-create’ centre at Bawla, where they will address the youth. They will also have lunch at the centre along with various industrialists.

They will then fly off to the horticulture centre near Prantij around 2 pm where they will address a congregation of agricultural experts and farmers.