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Bolting the stables after the horses have fled

December 9, 2008
This is a clear case of bolting the stables after the horses have fled. Vice- Admiral Jagjit Singh Bedi, the commander of the Western Fleet, said, 'We are up against highly motivated forces. My commandos have told me that we are up against professional terrorists who have done their homework well and know how to cause maximum damage.'

If that was the reaction of the chief of the Western Naval Command, the chief of the Southern Naval Command Vice- Admiral Sunil K Damle declared, 'As per our information, they not only came via the sea route but some elements even escaped through the sea route. The Indian Navy is strong there and we have already started investigating vessels or ships that are considered suspicious on the west coast, particularly in the vicinity of Mumbai. So, the Indian Navy is trying to find out how they came in. In case there in an attempt to take that route to flee, that angle is also being investigated by our units.'

Likewise, the Coast Guard deployed most of its assets only after the attack, indicating of a lack of proactive measures. The statement by the Coast Guard authorities that they lack resources and manpower, point to the need for pooling available resources from all the agencies, with a view to have coordinated action. This is inescapable till the force level shortages are made good.

Unfortunately, the statement by the top brass of the Navy, Coast Guard and those in power does not evoke any sense of confidence about all being well in the various aspects of maritime security. That the attack has been very well planned and the planners would not have overlooked the aspect of ingress/exit, including a reasonable degree of safety for the mothership, can hardly be doubted.

However, the action by the Marine Commandos, who swung into action immediately, is worthy of praise. Even if the naval authorities manage to locate the vessel, it would mean precious little except assisting in the post mortem of the attack and ascertaining the modus operandi adopted by the terrorists.

Image: The Gateway of India, which is located opposite the Taj Mahal hotel. The terrorists are said to have disembarked at the fishing village near the posh Cuffe Parade area, about 2 kilometres from the Gateway.

Also read: 'The terrorists released some gas'
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