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2008 Mumbai Attacks

Project: 2008 Mumbai Attacks
Open-Content project managed by matt, mtuck, paxvector

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Following visits to Israel by India’s foreign minister and home minister, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, or Indian Peoples Party) leader Jaswant Singh announces that the government will be strengthening India’s ties with Israel. He accuses previous governments of appeasing Muslims and playing politics with the national interest. Formal arrangements are made for coordinating national security affairs of the two countries. In the previous three years under the BJP government, over half a billion US dollars worth of military equipment has been purchased by India from Israel, including unmanned surveillance aircraft, anti-tank ammunition, and communications systems. The Indian Army chief made an official visit to Tel Aviv in March 1998. [Asia Times, 7/11/2000] The BJP is a right-wing party that is predominately Hindu. There have been reports of links between the BJP and Hindu nationalist organizations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Hindu terrorists. [Newsweek, 11/29/2008]

Entity Tags: Jaswant Singh, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bharatiya Janata Party

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon makes a formal state visit to India, to recognize and expand the strong military and security ties that are developing between the two states. Concern in respect to Israeli military tactics including targeted assassinations and the use of overwhelming force against civilians are voiced in some quarters. Concern is also voiced about damage to India’s standing in the Arab world. [FrontPage Magazine, 9/13/2003] There are reports that an agreement to conduct joint military excercises involving Indian and Israeli elite special forces has been reached, although neither government confirms this. [Jewish Telegraph Agency, 9/26/2003]

Entity Tags: Ariel Sharon

Rabinder Singh, a senior officer in India’s Research and Intelligence Wing (RAW) defects to the US while under investigation for illegally passing classified documents to the CIA. It is suspected that high level colleagues in the RAW and CIA helped him to escape. [Times of India, 6/9/2004] The Indian government believes that the defection is only the tip of the iceberg of infiltration of its intelligence agencies by the CIA and the Mossad. [Jane's International Security News, 7/1/2004]

Entity Tags: Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks (Mossad), Research and Intelligence Wing, Rabinder Singh, Central Intelligence Agency

An Israeli spy satelite is launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), signaling a continuing realignment of India with Israel and the US as well as straining relations with Iran and the Arab states. On the same day, Iran’s ambassador in New Delhi condemns India’s collaboration with Israel on the covert project, and accuses the United States and Israel of trying to create tensions in the region. Achin Vanaik, professor of international relations and global politics at Delhi University, later says, “India has recently allowed its new strategic relationship with the US and Israel to prevail over its traditional friendship with Iran.” The satellite incident is only the latest in a series of major arms, technology, and intelligence deals between India and Israel, including, according to sources, training of India’s external intelligence agencies by the Mossad. [Asia Times, 2/8/2008] India has agreed to launch two more spy satellites for Israel in exchange for receiving some of the image intelligence gathered. [Jerusalem Post, 2/25/2008]

Entity Tags: Indian Space Research Organization, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks (Mossad), Achin Vanaik

Bombs explode in crowded places in the towns of Malegaon and Modasa, killing five people. The Bharatiya Janata Party (see July 2000) promptly condemns the attacks. Islamist groups are initially suspected, partly because one of the bombs was placed on a motorcycle that had Islamist stickers attached. The police investigation, however, traces the motorcycle to a member of the Jagran Manch, a Hindu extremist organization with reported links to the BJP. [Express India, 10/22/2008; Indian Express, 10/24/2008]

Entity Tags: Jagran Manch, Bharatiya Janata Party

The Taj Majal Palace & Towers hotel in Mumbai is warned about the possibility of an attack, according to Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, which owns the hotel. The hotel takes the warning seriously and heightens security measures. Tata will state, “People couldn’t park their cars in the portico where you had to go through a metal detector.” Tata will also minimize the usefulness of the warning received, saying: “[I]f I look at what we had—which all of us complained about—it could not have stopped what took place. They didn’t come through that entrance.” [CNN, 11/30/2008]
Other Witness to Heightened Security States It Will Be Lowered before Attacks - A. Vaidyanathan, an economist and member of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India who is a frequent guest at the hotel, stays there this month and will be there when the attacks begin on November 26 (see November 26-29, 2008). Following the attacks, Vaidyanathan will tell the The Hindu newspaper: “The last time I went, last month, there was very tight security. You could not get into the [Taj] Palace. There is an entrance there, which is closed. At the entrance to the tower, they had two-level security. First, when you enter the open parking, where the cars are parked, you had a very heavy metal frame, your baggage was searched.… At the entrance of the foyer, there was another metal detector and you were personally searched and so on.” He will return in November (see Before November 26, 2008) and notice these security measures are no longer in place: “This time I noticed it had gone. We could go straight to the Palace,” he will later recall. [The Hindu, 11/29/2008]

Entity Tags: Tata Group, A. Vaidyanathan, Ratan Tata

The Indian Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrests Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit as the ninth person taken into custody in connection with the Malegaon bombings (see September 29, 2008). Others arrested include retired Major Ramesh Upadhyay and Pragya Singh Thakur, a Hindu nun. Thakur is a former member of the students’ wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP—see July 2000). She is also a former member of the national executive of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which is the leading Hindu nationalist organization in India. [Times of India, 11/5/2008; New York Times, 11/11/2008] ATS officials say that Purohit used military intelligence funds and resources to execute the bombings. They also ask the court for permission to interrogate a “high profile leader” who is rumored to be Yogi Adityanath, a BJP Member of Parliament. [Indo-Asian News Service, 11/11/2008] ATS Chief Hermant Karkare states that the ATS has sufficient evidence to convict Purohit, and that the case will go to court. [Tehelka, 12/6/2008] Investigators say that Purohit and Upadhyay were both members of Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu nationalist organisation. The BJP initially distances itself from the accused, but then changes tack and defends and offers to provide legal support for Thakur. [London Times, 11/8/2008]

Entity Tags: Abhinav Bharat, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Indian Anti-Terrorism Squad, Hermant Karkare, Pragya Singh Thakur, Yogi Adityanath, Ramesh Upadhyay, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Shrikant Purohit, Bharatiya Janata Party

Security is lowered at the Taj Majal Palace & Towers hotel in Mumbai shortly before attacks occur there. According to a frequent guest of the hotel, economist and member of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India A. Vaidyanathan, security was tightened during the time he was a guest at the hotel in October (see October 2008), but is relaxed when he returns shortly before the attacks, which begin on November 26 (see November 26-29, 2008). Vaidyanathan will tell The Hindu newspaper that when he arrives at the hotel for his November stay, the heightened security measures he noticed in October are gone. These measures had included restrictions on parking in front of the hotel, metal detectors, and searches of baggage and persons. Ratan Tata, chairman of the company that owns the hotel, will say the hotel had received a warning about a possible attack, and had increased security in response (see October 2008). [The Hindu, 11/29/2008]

Entity Tags: A. Vaidyanathan, Tata Group, Ratan Tata

Terrorists associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba attack 11 different locations in Mumbai, India, including eight in South Mumbai: the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers hotel, the Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Nariman House Jewish community centre, the Metro Cinema, a street behind the Times of India building, and St. Xavier’s College. The attackers continue their assault over a three-day period, taking some hostages after shooting many outright and setting off explosive devices. [FoxNews.com, 11/26/2008; Times of India, 11/29/2008] Over 160 people are killed and close to 300 are wounded. [Bloomberg, 12/6/2008]

Entity Tags: Lashkar-e-Taiba


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