Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The pen is mightier than the sword'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Requiem for a recorder'

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan's Political Turmoil: Can Imran Khan's PTI Party Depose the Government?

Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Security fears linger on one year after Mumbai attacks

Text by Nandita VIJ

Latest update : 2009-11-26

As India remembers those fallen in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, security analysts and officials warn that, twelve months on, the country’s anti-terror strategy is still “work in progress”.

Nov. 26, 2008, etched a bullet mark on Rivesh Dandekar’s left arm and he lost a foot. One year on, the injuries are a constant reminder of the deadly attacks on India’s financial hub, Mumbai, which jostled the emerging Asian giant to its core.

Dandekar, a 35-year-old electrician, was waiting for a train late in the evening on a crammed platform in Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus central station, when he and scores of other Mumbaikars came under a volley of shots fired by two gunmen.

“I heard a loud crackling noise, suddenly there was screaming and pushing and then bodies were falling all around me,” recalls Dandekar.

Hell broke loose as Mumbai experienced its very own 9/11, as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington are commonly called. Ten heavily-armed Muslim extremists held the city of dreams and glamour hostage for nearly three days. A bloody rampage across town including attacks on luxury hotels Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Oberoi Trident killed nearly 200 people, including six foreigners, and injured more than 300.

Twelve months later, Dandekar and Mumbai have bounced back, but fear of another 26/11 lingers on.

Alert yet vulnerable

The Congress-led government, caught off guard, faced a seething public reaction for the major security lapses that had allowed foreign extremists to plan and execute such a vast attack.

In a radical security overhaul soon after the attacks, Indian authorities set up the National Investigation Agency (NIA), an FBI-style unit to counter terrorism. Four regional hubs for the National Security Guard (NSG), the country’s top commando unit, were also established. 

Immigration and visa regulations were further tightened in October after Mumbai attack suspects were arrested in the US and Italy.

Use of metal detectors in hotels and malls is now widespread, while the country’s railway stations and airports are dotted with armed security guards behind heavy brown sandbags.

Coastal security has been beefed up, especially at Mumbai’s seaside port, which attackers used to enter the country undetected in 2008.

But for many, these steps are still not enough to avert another 26/11.

The acting head of Maharashtra state police, A.N. Roy, told reporters at a press conference last week: “Today, we feel much more confident than we were one year ago -- but still there is a long way to go.”

Analysts have stressed the need for even stronger preventive measures.

“ India needs to be more pro-active. Right now it is episodic and reactive due to a certain degree of politico-bureaucratic ineptitude,”  C. Uday Bhaskar, a security expert and former director of the New Delhi-based Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis told France 24.com.

Bhaskar believes that terror attacks in the past ought to have resulted in much greater cohesion and determination to identify the systemic inadequacies and redress them – but this was not done.

In a Sunday editorial in the Indian news daily Hindustan Times, the paper’s editorial director and leading journalist, Vir Sanghvi, wrote: “It’s a depressing conclusion. But it is inescapable. Very little has really changed. A new terror attack like 26/11 can happen again. And our government may not be able to protect us."

Priyanka Babbar, a 26-year-old school teacher in Mumbai, thinks alike. "I will not be surprised if something similar happens at a train station or anywhere else,” she told FRANCE 24. “But I still go out and use public transport, because life goes on.”

Date created : 2009-11-24

  • Have the security forces learned any lessons after Mumbai?

    Read more

COMMENT(S)