26/11 – Lasting images, limited impact?

November 25, 2009

Ahead of the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, India’s financial hub is on heightened alert.

Metal detectors and scanners “beep” in office blocks and malls, snipers and sniffer dogs keep guard at hotels, and barricades are in place around high-profile locations. And various talking heads have made power point presentations to show the city is now safer.

In the past year, several measures have been put in place to tighten security in Mumbai, including a hub for elite commandos, and new weapons, armoured vehicles and speedboats for the police.

But how safe is the city that has been a target of bomb attacks before and remains a magnet for militants bent on hurting India’s status as an economic powerhouse?

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has said India remains just as vulnerable to another attack, but that our capacity to deal with them has improved.

But some security experts say little has changed, and the fact that there have been no major attacks in the last year has little to do with India’s improved ability, and more to do with the greater pressure on Pakistan. That it is only a matter of time before the Lashkar-e-Taiba launches another attack in India. That the revamping of the police force that is needed to secure the city has not been done.

Even in Mumbai, at the main train station where militants gunned down the most number of victims last year, door-frame metal detectors stand unmanned and bags go unchecked. And the coastline, which was easily breached by the gunmen, remains largely unprotected.

Expecting a complete overhaul of the security apparatus within a year is perhaps a tall order, but simply barricading private firms will not help if the city remains vulnerable.

In the days after last November’s attacks, thousands of Mumbai residents, stunned by the 60-hour siege of their city, took to the streets with candles, placards and slogans, demanding better governance and greater accountability.

Yet, Mumbai’s voter turnout in the national election and the recent state election was among the lowest in years.

Perhaps 26/11, as the attacks have come to be called, will also quickly become nothing more than a footnote in Mumbai’s violent history, with lasting images but little impact.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

This is due to non respect of talent. People with faith native to India are fed up with the Government, politics and governance modelled on Christianity.

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive

The real question is how the attacks will be used to move forward the agenda against the war on terror. These attacks were different in that they were calculated to get the most world wide effect. Why would Pakistanis attack a Jewish center, when historically they have nothing against Jews? This was a media ploy, pure and simple. If the allies cannot wage a war against terror in a coordinated way, the terrorists will continue to have a foothold around the world.http://neoavatara.com/blog/?p=8958

Posted by Neoavatara | Report as abusive

It is time that Indian govt focuses aggressively on INTERNAL SECURITY—all aspects of it. Pour money into it if the govt values the life of people here.With all credit to the bravery of Mr. Omble’s lathi (baton)-carrying team that caught Kasab alive, it is time police people are given a decent weapon that they can defend themselves first to protect others.If nothing else, do for the economy and for the confidence of the investors and tourists, the sports.Mumbaikars could have done better in election turnout.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

While Pakistan has handed India a 26/11 anniversary gift in the form of Lakhvi verdict, the Government of India is yet to gift credible results on counter-terrorism to its people.http://thetrajectory.com/blogs/?p =915Will 26/11 become another ritualistic ceremoy or will meaningful relaization dawn on the Govt. of India to undertake corrective measures?http://thetrajectory.com/blogs/  ?p=910

Posted by thetrajectory | Report as abusive

People remembering 26/11 after few days they will forget again.It is not the failure of the government its the people who have failed themselves and people who did not vote. The same incompetent government is back again.So people complaining now does not make any sense.

Posted by Little About | Report as abusive

If post 9/11 USA can go in Afghanistan,bomb the country throw Taliban out all in the name of securing their homeland.. my question is y cant we Do the same thing wid all d camps in PoK and inside Pakistan? – our army knows where exactly these camps r! We also have a right to protect our homeland right?It is not an eye for an eye!Its only a slap for an eye. Pak is lucky we dont bomb them like USA

Posted by Rohit Bhatia | Report as abusive