Accessibility links

Indian Home Minister Admits to 'Lapses' in Mumbai Attacks


India's new home minister, appointed in the wake of the Mumbai terror siege, is admitting security failures in preventing the attack and says there must be a fundamental change in attitude in the country to effectively fight terrorism.

Just days after exchanging his finance portfolio for that of home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram is acknowledging failures in preventing the Mumbai terror attack.

"I take note of your anguish and your legitimate complaint about the lapses," he said. "We will address the causes that led to the lapses"

Chidambaram also told reporters in Mumbai a change in thinking is needed in the country.

"September 11th changed the attitude of all the people of the United States," he said. "What happened in Mumbai must be the trigger for a fundamental change in our attitude towards terrorism and combating terrorism."

As to how the investigation is progressing, the minister now tasked with domestic security is being tight-lipped. He says there will be no details released by him until the investigation is completed and he can report it to a session of parliament.

Chidambaram replaced Shivraj Patil, who said he resigned to take "moral responsibility" for the attack.

The siege of Mumbai followed a string of terrorist bombings in Indian cities this year.

Indian media Friday are quoting anonymous official sources as saying a direct connection has been established between the attackers from the Laskhar-e-Taiba terrorist outfit and Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as the ISI.

Pakistan denies any official involvement blaming the attack on "non state actors" and insists India provide credible evidence against those it is accusing.

Senior terrorism analyst Jeremy Binnie of Jane's Information Group sees a possible military connection to the attackers who skillfully used sophisticated weapons to kill more than 160 civilians and members of security forces.

"We certainly think it's possible that some serving soldiers or former soldiers knew about this attack or were involved in the training," he said. "What we don't think, at this stage, is that this goes up the military chain of command. What will be a matter of speculation for a long time to come is maybe the extent of which how high up in the ISI someone knew about this"

The Mumbai attack came as New Delhi and Islamabad were trying to get their peace process back on track. Now relations are at their worst point since 2001, when the nuclear-armed neighbors came to the brink of war following an attack on India's parliament, also blamed on Laskhar-e-Taiba.

XS
SM
MD
LG