The Mumbai Attack & The Next Attacks – Views of CinemaRasik & Rand Corporation Experts

On January 10, 2009, we wrote an article titled “The Mumbai Attack – It Was Not Terrorism” www.cinemarasik.com/2009/01/10/the-mumbai-attack–it-was-not-terrorism.aspx

This was a detailed article that discussed our views and analysis of the factors behind the attack and the implications of the failure of India to respond. Briefly, the article argued:


  • In our considered opinion, this military operation would have been impossible without the conception, execution and operation by a sophisticated military-intelligence combine – The Pakistani Military-Intelligence complex.
  • It would be inconceivable for Pakistan to attempt such a strategy against any other country. Every strong society in the world has realized that every attack must be answered and every attacker must pay a very heavy price for the attack. Fear of a massive retaliation is the only protection against future attacks.
  • We hope that the Indian Government takes decisive retaliatory action against the Pakistani Military. If they do not and the Pakistani Military gets away with the attack on Mumbai, then it is certain that they will plan more deadly attacks on India in the near future.
A week or so after our article, Rand Corporation, a leading Think Tank, released its study of the Mumbai Attack titled “The Lessons of Mumbai”. It is a thoughtful and detailed work (37 pages) written by analysts and experts. The document discusses the operational, tactical and technical capabilities displayed in the attack. Then, it evaluates the response of Indian security forces. Finally, it discusses the costs & benefits of a potential retaliatory response from India and derives lessons learned from this attack.

We strongly urge all readers to download the entire 37 page (free) report from the Rand website and read it. (http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP249 ). Below we summarize some of the key findings and conclusions of this report which do mirror our views laid out in our article on January 10.


  • “The defining characteristic of the Mumbai attack, and what makes it so alarming, is not just the ruthless killing, but the meticulous planning and preparation that went into the operation,”


  • “Beyond India, the Mumbai Attack reveals a strategic culture that thoughtfully identified strategic goals and ways to achieve them and analyzed counterterrorist measures and developed ways to obviate them to produce a 9/11-quality attack.”


  • Despite some Indian interest in military options, there do not appear to be any present any military operation that can have strategic- level effects without significant risk of military response from Pakistan.”


  • “While India understands the costs of military action, from its point of view there are also costs to not responding.”


  • “Pakistan has likely concluded from the events since the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament complex and prior, that India is unable or unwilling to mount a serious effort to punish and deter Pakistan for these attacks.”


  • “Accordingly, from India’s vantage point, to not respond would signal a lack of Indian resolve or capability.”


  • “Indian proponents of military option believe that some sort of military response is required to ensure that Pakistan (or at least those elements of its military and intelligence leadership that are supportive of the activities of groups like LeT) understands that terrorism in India is no longer a cost-free option.”
The report concludes that “India will continue to face a serious jihadist threat from Pakistan-based terrorist groups, and neither Indian nor U.S. policy is likely to reduce that threat in the near future,” and that “Other extremist groups in Pakistan likely will find inspiration in the Mumbai attacks, and we can expect more attacks with high body counts and symbolic targets.”

A chilling analysis but a sober and realistic one.

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