Got news of the terror attacks while on vacation. Some random thoughts while its still not over.
Never watch an India related news event through the eyes of CNN or any other US TV channel. Thank goodness for NDTV Live which worked surprisingly well from the hotel over broadband. Until, that is other people found out about it and it crashed.
But for print news I found myself going to BBC and New York Times. Why?
Why did Hemant Karkare, 54, head of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, have to go in on the encounter himself? Isn’t that a little unusual? But whatever the reason, I salute him for leading from the front. Many brave officers and policemen lost their lives yesterday in the line of duty.
There is no place remote enough in India where 30 terrorists who are suicidal could get training in automatic weapons and incendiary.
At least some of the terrorists would have had to “case the joints”, which means that they or some of them were in Mumbai recently to check out things like the rear entrance to the Taj, the petrol station in Colaba and how to get from point A to B.
Intelligence is going to get a lot of flak after this is over, regardless of how it ends. It is already, in the western media. The fragmentation of intelligence across state police departments and RAW and Military Intelligence is not a recipe for success. Internal and external are now seamlessly melded. Exactly the reason why the US had to create a department for Homeland Security.
Mumbai will always be a soft target for terrorism. Teeming millions, easy to get lost in. Huge coast line and an entrenched underworld some of whom have the wrong ideas about who the enemy is. The fact that it is the financial and commercial capital of the country makes it an attractive soft target.
Why does the NSG commando force have to be entirely in Delhi?
The media handling could have been much better. With so many “forces” involved in the rescue operations, coordination must have been very tricky, but we may never know how it was handled. But there should have been protocol set on how these things are handled with the media. Single point of contact, coordinated messaging from leaders, saying “that’s all we know at this point” or “that’s all we can share at this point” is much better than no information. The one thing that stood out in all the media coverage was that there were a lot of images, but no real information.
Risk premium in the short term will go up on
Foreign travel to India and Mumbai
Staying at the Taj, Oberoi and other high profile hotels
Business in India
Investing in India
Hawks will dominate the discussion in the next few weeks in India. The one thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a Pakistani government with a single purpose. There are many different government and non-governmental bodies who may or may not pay heed to the elected executive and legislature.