Friday, November 28, 2008

India - Mumbai Warnings unheeded

Vijay Thakur


NEW DELHI, Nov. 28: Was it merely an intelligence failure or a complete breakdown of the system that failed to prevent the deadly terrorist attack on Mumbai?

According to senior intelligence officers, the attack could have been prevented had the “security threat from the coastal area” not been taken lightly.

Despite repeated warnings, no contingency plan was in place to react to such a warlike situation, they said. Central intelligence agencies, which are usually on the defensive after every terror attack, have taken the offensive this time attacking the “policy makers” for not acting. While serving intelligence officers preferred not to comment “officially”, a former top intelligence official questioned the “political will” and the “vision of governance” of political parties in power to tackle such a sensitive issue. “The USA learned lessons after 9/11. Unfortunately, we have not learnt any despite three decades of continuous terror attacks.”

Questioning the efficiency of police or intelligence agencies is no solution as “we are no way less than any intelligence agency of the world,” said the former joint director of Intelligence Bureau, Mr M K Dhar.

Senior intelligence officials said they had warned the government about training camps operating in Pakistan and their “nefarious plan to attack Mumbai using sea route”.

“The Mumbai attack is the best example of how our political bosses have failed completely. They are mixing politics with the internal and external security of the nation,” said Mr Dhar.

“We need to have a vision of governance. There is a total lack of political will in fight terrorism. We should have a plan to respond to such situation immediately,” said the former director of the Intelligence Bureau, Mr A K Doval.

Men of steel

Mumbai, Nov. 28: They were all sleeping in the safe confines of their homes when urgent calls were made at midnight to form a crack team of the elite commandos of the Indian Navy- MARCOS, to tackle the terror attacks unfolding at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels here. By two in the morning, 40 heavily armed Naval commandos had arrived at the scene. The team was divided into two with one being sent to Oberoi along with the Explosive Ordinance Demolitions (EOD), while the other to Taj.

A Mauritius national's identity card was recovered from the rucksack of a terrorist who escaped from a hotel room, he said, adding the recovered rucksack also contained Chinese made hand grenades, seven ammunition magazines, 400 spare rounds of ammunition, seven credit cards of different banks, dry rations and USD 1,200 and Rs 6,840. n PTI

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