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Monday, December 01, 2008
06:50 Mecca time, 03:50 GMT      
India 'had warning of attacks'
India's security forces have been criticised for
being unprepared and ill-equipped [EPA]

Indian authorities were warned about a possible attack by sea - much like the 
one on Mumbai last week - several months ago, Al Jazeera has learnt.

Al Jazeera obtained a document believed to be an intelligence report that 
warned the government and police of impending attacks by well-armed and 
well-trained fighters with possible links to Pakistan.

News that the government may have been warned about a possible attack is likely 
to increase pressure on New Delhi, which is already being criticised for not 
responding adequately to the attacks on its financial centre.

Shivraj Patil, India's home minister, has already resigned – the first 
political casualty of the co-ordinated attacks in Mumbai that left more than 
170 people dead and hundreds more wounded.

With national elections just months away, Patil said he accepted "moral 
responsibility" for failing to prevent the attacks.

'Elements in Pakistan'


Timeline of Mumbai attack
Media reacts to mayhem
Voices from Mumbai
Photos: A city under fire
Video: Assaults shake city
Map: Assault flashpoints
Your Views on the assault
As the city began to mourn its dead and security officials stepped up their 
investigation, the Indian government was continuing to link those behind the 
attacks to neighbouring Pakistan, Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman said from Mumbai.

Pranab Mukherjee, India's foreign minister, said "according to preliminary 
information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible".

With the suspicion that elements in Pakistan were involved, the Indian 
government is considering suspending peace talks with its neighbour, the Press 
Trust of India (PTI) reported.

"There is a view in the government that India should suspend the peace process 
and composite dialogue to show that it is not going to take lightly the deadly 
carnage in Mumbai," the official Indian news agency quoted an unnamed official 
as saying.

Although the Indian government has confirmed moving troops to the Line of 
Control at the quasi border with Pakistan in Kashmir, it maintains that the 
painfully negotiated ceasefire with Islamabad there is still in place, our 
correspondent said.

Kanwal Sibal, a former Indian foreign secretary, told Al Jazeera: "We have been 
put in an extremely difficult situation where, on the one hand we need to 
respond - we must respond, otherwise we lay ourselves open to more such attacks 
in the future.

"On the other hand, we also want the democratic government in Pakistan to 
survive and we do not want the armed forces to come back."

The commando operation at the Jewish centre
was criticised as slow [Reuters]
But Islamabad has denied any links to the attacks and called on New Delhi to 
share evidence.

Assad Durrani, a former head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), 
told Al Jazeera: "I heard that India would be prepared to share their 
intelligence with Pakistan, so that is already a positive move, because that 
has been a problem in the past.

"And, in most cases, if I recall correctly, it turned out that either they did 
not have any good proof or someone else was responsible."

Earlier Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, said: "Our hands are 
clean, we have nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of because this 
government feels that good neighbourly relations with India are in the 
interests of Pakistan."

The only attacker captured alive after the 60-hour siege said he belonged to a 
Pakistani armed group with links to the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, a 
senior police officer said on Sunday.

Joint Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said Ajmal Qasab told police he was 
trained at a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Pakistan, the group he said was "behind 
the terrorist acts" in Mumbai.

A US counterterrorism official had said some "signatures of the attack" were 
consistent with Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammed, another group that has operated 
in Kashmir, both accused of having links to al-Qaeda.

Security forces criticised

India's security forces have also come under heavy fire for being unprepared 
and ill-equipped to handle the Mumbai attacks.

Although Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, promised to boost maritime 
and air security and consider a new federal investigative agency, some analysts 
expressed doubts that there would be any fundamental change.

Patil said he took "moral responsibility" for the attacks [EPA]
"These guys could do it next week again in Mumbai and our responses would be 
exactly the same," said Ajai Sahni, head of the New Delhi-based Institute for 
Conflict Management who has close ties to India's police and intelligence 

He said the 10-hour delayed response by commandos based outside of New Delhi 
gave the gunmen time to consolidate control of two luxury hotels and a Jewish 
centre in Mumbai.

Sahni said not only were the local police poorly trained, even the commandos 
lacked proper equipment such as night-vision goggles and thermal sensors that 
could have helped better locate the attackers.

In the first of a series of attacks, two young men armed with assault rifles 
had managed to spray bullets in the city's crowded main train station despite 
more than 60 patrolling police officers.

"The way Mumbai police handled the situation, they were not combat-ready," 
Jimmy Katrak, a security consultant, said. "You don't need the Indian army to 
neutralise eight to nine people."

Bapu Thombre, the assistant commissioner with the Mumbai railway police, said 
policemen who were armed mainly with batons or World War I-era rifles "are not 
trained to respond to major attacks".

Indian commandos were also severely criticised for the slow response to the 
hostage situation at the Jewish centre in Mumbai.

Assaf Hefetz, a former Israeli police commissioner, said the commandos should 
have swarmed the building in a massive, co-ordinated attack that would have 
overwhelmed the gunmen and ended the standoff in seconds.

The slowness of the operation he said made it appear as if the commandos' main 
goal was to stay alive.

"You have to take the chance and the danger that your people can be hurt and 
some of them will be killed, but do it much faster and ensure the operation 
will be finished [quickly]," said Hefetz, who created the Israeli police 
anti-terror unit 30 years ago.

But JK Dutt, the director-general of the commando unit, defended their tactics.

"We have conducted the operation in the way we are trained and in the way we 
like to do it," he said.

Meanwhile Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, is scheduled to visit 
the Indian capital this week as a "further demonstration" of US solidarity with 
India and to "work together to hold these extremists accountable", the White 
House said on Sunday.
 Source:     Al Jazeera and agencies

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