"Mumbai 26/11 to 28/11/2008 (Comments as on 30/11)"
No one wanted to take the responsibility in case of anticipated casualties amongst the hostages and guests and inmates. But inaction is worse than some mistakes that may be committed during action. It was such inaction or only minimal and hesitant action that allowed the terrorists free rein to kill some of those who were victims within the first few minutes and the many others in the subsequent hours of entering the buildings, well before the time the NSG took to arrive at the site and took charge. The casualties would have been far less and the whole operation over much sooner, had the MARCOS been duly authorized to take action as necessary to deal with the Terrorists.
Instead the MARCOS were kept sitting idle and soon thereafter pulled out. The Politicians / Bureaucrats at Delhi did not seem to like the idea of either the Naval Fleet Commander at Mumbai, or theArmy Area Commander also at Mumbai, who is actually responsible for providing on call, 'Aid to Civil Power' in times of Disasters of Internal Disturbances, or even his senior, the Southern Army Commander, to be in the lime light as coordinators. Political contacts were used to tell these Generals on the site to go back, keep out and keep quiet. Realistically a force as small as the MARCOS there would be led by a Lt.Cdr. (equivalent to Major Rank) who, given proper orders through his Commander and clearance to act by the designated civilian Authority, is more than adequately trained to carry out such a clearing Operation and would have been able to complete the operation successfully within a few hours.
The State Director General of Police, already distracted, and his position weakened by a Court Case questioning his very appointment, was unable to stand up and be counted – again Political Interference or Departmental Politics or sheer lack of the Leadership expected?
The lack of immediate action permitted the operation to play out longer as a continuing operation on Worldwide TV. Had the MARCOS been allowed to move in immediately, there would have been nothing to discuss or show except the aftermath and that would not have received such continuous coverage. Instead the coverage would then have been more like the coverage of similar incidents at the other locations (eg: Entebbe). This would have been more positive and even caused a deterring effect on our enemies.
Retired Officers from all sorts of Organizations and many so called theoretical experts were then called upon by the Media, ever hungry to feed the demand for something ’New - 24/7', and all sorts of opinions and scenarios were aired. Some informative and realistic even though only very marginally useful due to lack of concrete facts, but most very imaginative, not really applicable and just plain useless.
All this only served to spread more confusion and more fear.
- Were there only 10 terrorists, or 15, or, as per an early report as many as 40?
- Where were the others?