News

Experts: Mumbai Attacks Show Terrorists Using Advanced Technology

Police in India say they have identified the nine suspected Islamic militants killed during the three-day siege of Mumbai and uncovered new details about them - including their hometowns in Pakistan.  The terrorist attack and the way it was carried out is being studied by terrorism experts to learn what lessons can be drawn from the assault.  Experts in Washington warn future terrorists may use similar tactics as the Mumbai attackers.   

The small gang of  terrorists that attacked Mumbai came armed not just with guns and grenades, but also carrying cell phones, GPS and other high tech gear.  

And this level of sophistication is worrying to experts, who warn the Mumbai attacks could be the start of a dangerous trend.   

"The beach landing, the GPS, the use of Google, cell phone communication, I think it is far more sophisticated than the 9/11 attackers which [who] were effectively using flight control software and box cutters," said David Heyman, a Homeland security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Experts say the international community must be aware that if terrorists are using more sophisticated technology, they could someday carry out attacks with radioactive material or biological weapons.

Nuclear non-proliferation expert Leonard Spector says the ruthlessness shown by the terrorists in Mumbai raises concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.  He says if Iran develops nuclear weapons, there is a danger that nuclear material might end up in the hands of terrorists.

"We may have a situation where the weapons exist but who controls them day to day, who is responsible for each aspect of their manufacture, for keeping the weapon grade nuclear material, for example, as the weapons are made," he said. "All this is opaque to the outside world and perhaps not so clear cut internally."

Being better prepared is part of the answer, say experts, who note India has elaborate plans on paper to deal with nuclear or biological attacks.  But in the case of Mumbai, Indian security forces were caught completely off guard, says Heyman.  

"On the surface, there are a lot of good steps being taken there, but what we saw was how spectacularly unprepared they were for these types of attacks," he said. "They have fewer than a hundred boats to cover a coast that of the size of our coast, the United States coast."

Yet experts say alert citizens can prevent terrorist attacks such as the case in London in 2006, where a plot to use liquid explosives on planes was foiled.  

"An investigation was started a year prior to that because a citizen, a neighbor of one of the participants in that plot told police that some strange activity was going on there," said David Heyman.

Yet the biggest and most obvious lesson from the Mumbai terrorist attacks is for security agencies around the world, says the South Asia adviser at the State Department, Seth Bailey.

"Not having a permanent commando force in their largest city, their financial capital of Mumbai? I think in retrospect everybody can take a look at that and say it was a mistake," he said. "And I am sure it is not one that will be repeated."

Experts say the message from the Mumbai attack is that while it may be impossible to completely eliminate terrorism, better preparation makes it possible to limit the damage caused by terrorists and defeat their purpose.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs