Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai drama - Part 2

Indians are incensed at what has happened to their major city and a popular destination. They cannot imagine that 15 young men - whoever they were - could hold ransom the entire mega city. Railway was closed; stock exchange was empty; all offices and schools remain closed the next day.

It is very clear that the protection of mega cities like Mumbai and Karachi cannot begin in the city itself. It needs to begin at a deeper level and much before the city itself. Once terrorists are close to you the only thing you can do is fire back. And when you are unarmed, as was the case with Taj's security, you can do nothing except run away.

But even when all this drama was going on one could sense that fire fighting capabilities of Mumbai were thoroughly inadequate. And the complexity and hugeness of the hotel itself added to the confusion - a really good reason why only 4 terrorists were able to hold back India's elite commandoes for 65 hours at a stretch. And, as Times of India relates in one of the stories, NSG took 9 hours to reach Taj Hotel for the assault. Adding to the confusion, various intelligence agencies, police men and other elite forces were fighting side by side. Although I am no expert in counter terrorism I can say with surety that only one coordinated force should be allowed to fight one particular group of men. As was evident on our TV channels, Sub-continental confusion was everywhere around the Taj.

Now, some questions.

For one thing, someone really important within the hotel is involved in all this. Else, how can you take so much extra ammunition into the hotel? And, why were those heavy RDX bags (8 Kg each) were not detected? I cannot also understand how could have these terrorists lived for so long without ever getting tired or sleepy while they were battling some 400 odd Indian forces? I also am answer less on how Indians have managed to successfully get all the answers they wanted to hear within 24 hours of capturing the only terrorist alive, Mohammad Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab.

Indian investigators, never so smart but always brutal, need to answer these tough questions. We can believe them when they tell us that every boat cannot be checked. We can also believe them that in front of AK-47s no one can stand especially if the shooter is a skilled man. I also cannot understand the Indian media response regarding these attacks. They are completely clueless and are only saying what their hawkish govt. is suggesting: That Pakistan may be involved, that it is the work of ISI (sic), that Pakistan should be taught a lesson (exactly what BJP wanted), and so on.

After the mayhem which killed over 200 men and women, guests and staff members, we need answers. But it is no answer to blame Pakisan or Pakistani ISI for all their own flaws. They need to go deeper and see the rifts which are tearing down India across its seams. Indians need to get more practical. By playing blame games they won't find any answers or solutions.


Dave said...

There is more evidence that the Mumbai terrorists came from Pakistan than there was that Osama Bin Laden was behind 9/11.

But India should not make the same mistake as the US and should show more restraint.

Already Pakistan is falling apart as a nation. In a few years it will break up into 3 or more countries (like Yugoslavia) - a Pashtunistan, a Baluchistan, a Sind and a PakPunjab. If India takes any overt action, this would just unite the Pakistanis and delay the breakup.

Best thing is to let the US handle the terrorists and watch Pakistan fall to pieces on its own

In any case Pakistan has its own karma to reckon with, see

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