New Indian Home Minister Admits Intelligence and Security Failures

By Matthew Harwood

A little more than a week after terrorists assaulted the city of Mumbai, the Indian government has publicly acknowledged its  security failures.

"Ultimately there have been some lapses," said the newly appointed Home Minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram. "These are being looked into and I will do my utmost ... to overcome the causes of these lapses and try to improve the effectiveness of the security system."

The Times (of London) has a summary of how unprepared Mumbai, and India as a whole, was for last week's carnage.

Taken in order of appearance:

  • India's elite commando unit, stationed in New Delhi, took eight hours to arrive after the terrorist siege began because no planes were available.
  • Elite marine commandos stationed in Mumbai did not arrive outside the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels until 1a.m., about three and a half hours after the first shots rang out.
  • Mumbai's police force was ill equipped to handle the fire power of the terrorists.
  • Mumbai's anti-terrorism police force is understaffed - 200 employees in a city of 18 million.
  • Although not confirmed, there are reports that the boat used by the terrorists was spotted off the coast of Gujarat, but an alert to check the vessel went ignored.

Again, this doesn't even take into account the intelligence failure. The United States had twice warned India that its intelligence sources had heard of plans to attack Mumbai from sea, according to the Associated Press. Indian intelligence said its received notice of an impending attack as early as September from its own sources. In response, the Taj Mahal had increased its security with metal detectors and other  measures in the weeks prior to the attack. A representative from the hotel, however, said tighter security would not have mattered since the terrorists accessed the hotel through its rear.

BREAKING NEWS: A powerful explosion has rocked a central bazaar in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing at least 18 people, according to The New York Times. The chief of police said he believes the death count will rise with time.


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