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Mumbai Attacks (2008)

Mumbai is the most important commercial and entertainment center of India. On November 26,2008 the city was attacked by some terrorists, which killed at least 172 people. This attack has been referred to as “India’s 9/11”. It was not the first terrorist attack, but one of the many. After all, the July 2006 Mumbai traveler train bombings yielded 209 causalities. According to the Indian media, the terrorists choosed the sea route to enter in the city. However, some aspects of this attack were significant namely its impertinent and determined scope, the difficulty of the operation and the multiplicity of its targets. Terrorists considered that the Taj Mahal and Trident-Oberoi Hotels provided ideal venues for killing the majority of the foreigners and the local elite. But they mainly focused on historical Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. After a long effort of 60 hour Indian commandos successfully overthrew the terrorist and situation was brought under the control.


The attacks on foreigners ensured international media coverage. The targeting of Americans, Britons, and Jews, as well as Indians claimed that Lashkar-i-Taiba planned the attack to serve numerous objectives that extended beyond this terrorist group’s previous focus on Kashmir and India. The terrorists’ attacks have been responsible to increase tensions between India and Pakistan that is a part of their strategic objectives. Mumbai attacks have some serious implications for India, Pakistan, and United States and in some measure, the international community. With respect to India’s relationship with Pakistan, Indians are convinced that LeT is supported by Pakistani government. India was to respond in a way that holds the government of Pakistan responsible. This attack refocused Indian policymakers’ attention on restructuring their internal security mechanisms that was bound to strengthen the Indian military’s interest in developing the means to punish Pakistan for such attacks and to deter future ones.


Despite some Indian interest in military options, there do not appear to be at present any military operations that can have strategic-level effects without significant risk of military response from Pakistan.


Pakistan first refused the Indian blame that Ajmal Qasab belonged to Pakistan but at the end on December 17, 2008 President Zardari denied the credibility of the confirmation that the surviving attacker, Ajmal Qasab, is a Pakistani despite the admission of Qasab’s own father.


Judging from President Zardari’s statements and the overdue response of the Pakistani government to the crisis, Pakistan’s civilian government appears either unwilling to comprehensively shut down LeT and its front organization, Jamaat ul-Dawa (JuD). On January 7, 2009, National Security Advisor Mahmood Durrani was fired because he accepted during an interview with CNN that the attackers had roots in Pakistan. The prime minister’s spokesman, Imran Gardaizi, explained that he was dismissed because he gave media interviews on national security issues without consulting the prime minister. Although the refusal espoused by the civilian government, it has undertaken a number of delayed steps against LeT. Pakistan was extremely unwilling to ban JuD, but promised to do so after the United Nations Security Council. On December 11, 2008, Pakistan finally put JuD’s leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed under house arrest and sealed nine JuD offices in Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar, and Mansehra linked to the Mumbai attack, including the Jamia Masjid Qudsia, the main JuD office in Lahore. Finally, on December 13, 2008, Pakistan banned JuD, a move decried by some of Pakistan’s politicians. However, reports have already surfaced suggesting that JuD has again reorganized under yet a new guise. Pakistan’s sluggish response to LeT may have several explanations, all of which could be at play in some measure. Parts of the Pakistani security establishment still view the organization as a valuable asset in some measure.


Finally Mumbai attacks in India disturbed the relations between Pakistan and India. Trade between both the countries was affected at large scale. The doors were closed for Pakistani cricketers in India. The most important feature of the Mumbai attacks was that both countries mobilized their armed forces but luckily no major conflict occurred.

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