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November 28th, 2008
10:34 AM ET

India's antiterror blunders

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/28/india.attacks/art.bus.guest.ap.jpg
caption="An unidentified guest gives a thumb's up sign Friday inside a bus after being rescued from the Oberoi Hotel."]
Sadanand Dhume
The Wall Street Journal

As the story of the carnage in Mumbai unfolds, it is tempting to dismiss it as merely another sorry episode in India's flailing effort to combat terrorism. Over the past four years, Islamist groups have struck in New Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, among other places. The death toll from terrorism - not counting at least 119 killed in Mumbai on Wednesday and Thursday - stands at over 4,000, which gives India the dubious distinction of suffering more casualties since 2004 than any country except Iraq.

The attacks highlight India's particular vulnerability to terrorist violence. But they are also a warning to any country that values what Mumbai symbolizes for Indians: pluralism, enterprise and an open society. Put simply, India's failure to protect its premier city offers a textbook example for fellow democracies on how not to deal with militant Islam.

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Filed under: India • India Attacked
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Ram Subrahmanian

    It is not the terrorist act alone that is condemnable – the following are all :

    * India slept while the perps planned, entered and executed this barbaric act. Does India collect ay intel ? Could not the Navy and Coast Guard protect the country ?

    * It did not seem like there was a one single person that was appointed to head the counter op. Several security forces seem to have loosely come together and worked in a random manner. You could see commandos and couter ops pesonnel walking around aimlessly, some chatting with each other, talking on cell phones. Armed personnel were entering and exiting the buidlings in a irregular manner. The lack of a planned counter op was obvious.

    * The Prime Minister was no-where. All we heard was "he was briefed" on Wednesday. Is it not necessary for him to come on national TV and assure and calm the people ?

    * The public was allowed to gather in crowds all over the place. Public safety was ignored, so was the sececy of the op

    * Media reporting was pathetic. The was no coverage of CST, the hospitals, Azad Maidan and the attack in Colaba. Media was fixated with Taj and Oberoi. The same irrelevant video clips were played repeatedly.

    As a nation India slept and continues to sleep.

    Here are my questions; but I know, as India lacks leaders with authority and a sense of reponsibility – my qs will remain unanswered :

    How can we be sure that a second wave is not going to occur any time soon ?

    Do we know for sure if another major act is not currently underway in Mumbai or any other place ?

    With what level of confidence can we say that all terrorists have been neutalized ?

    What measures have been taken at this time to protect other cities from attacks ?

    Don't the Indian counter terror agencies dry run and prepare for attacks on places such as on large hotels, train stations and hospitals ?

    Don't the Mumbai police already have floor plans and exit plans for hotels ?

    How does the Indian Govt. plan to investigate these attacks ? Is there a timeline and what are the Govt committments to people in this regard ?

    One senior Army official made the following statement "we operated under the assumption that if someone was carrying a gun, he must be a terrorist and we took him down". What if the terrorists forced innocent people to carry blank guns ?

    While our hears go out to the victims of the incidents and the people of India – shame on the corrupt and ineffective so called leaders.

    November 28, 2008 at 11:29 pm |

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