mangalore today

India still vulnerable to Mumbai-like attacks: Chidambaram

16 October 2009

NEW DELHI: India remains vulnerable to a Mumbai-style militant attack because neighbouring Pakistan is struggling to rein in the Islamist groups blamed for last year’s deadly assault, the home minister said on Thursday.

As India prepares for the first anniversary of the Mumbai raids that killed 166 people and foreign intelligence reports warn of possible new plots, Palaniappan Chidambaram warned any new attack would be met with a "swift and decisive" response.

Two plush hotels and a Jewish centre were among the targets attacked by 10 gunmen last November. India blamed Pakistani nationals and tensions rose between the two nuclear powers.

"My assessment of the vulnerability is that it has remained the same since 26/11," Chidambaram said in a rare interview, referring to the raids on Nov. 26. "It has not diminished nor has it enhanced."

With India spending millions on new security measures, from commando hubs in cities to navy patrols and better intelligence gathering, the minister added that India had learnt its lesson.

"Our capacity to deal with it (the terrorist threat) has increased significantly."

Preventing new attacks is key to regional stability. Former finance minister Chidambaram was appointed as home minister after criticism that the Congress party-led government failed to prevent the gunmen from rampaging for nearly three days through India’s financial hub.

Commando units finally killed all but one of the attackers. Despite pressure for military action against Pakistan last November, the Indians responded with a diplomatic offensive.

A second attack would severely test its self-restraint. "If there is another terror threat or a terror attack of the kind we saw in 26/11, India’s response will be swift and decisive," Chidambaram said.

courtesy: The Times of India