India admits to security ‘lapses’ before Mumbai attacks

India’s new interior minister admitted on Friday that there had been intelligence and security lapses ahead of last week’s attacks on Mumbai.

”Ultimately there have been some lapses,” Minister of Home Affairs Palaniappan Chidambaram told a news conference.

”These are being looked into and I will do my utmost to overcome the causes of these lapses and try to improve the effectiveness of the security system,” he said.

”What happened in Mumbai must be the trigger for a fundamental change of our attitude towards terrorism and combating terrorism. Neither the state governmental authorities nor the citizens can go back to business as usual.”

Chidambaram refused to divulge details of the probe into the attacks that left 172 people dead and around 300 others wounded.

”All work is under way. A lot of evidence has been gathered. Many aspects are being checked and when the full picture is drawn up I expect to be able to make a statement in Parliament, if Parliament is in session at that time,” he said.

However, he did repeat India’s claim that ”this particular crime was committed by terrorists who came from outside the country”.

”There is ample evidence to show that the source of the terrorist attack was clearly linked to organisations which have in the past been identified as being behind terrorist attacks in India,” he added.

”There are one or two countries which have broadly confirmed our preliminary conclusions … At this stage of the investigation it would be inappropriate for me to name any organisation or any entity.”

Several other Indian officials, from the government and security services, have already said the gunmen were all from Pakistan and linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.

Chidambaram took over as India’s home affairs minister on Sunday, the day after the attacks ended, replacing Shivraj Patil, who took ”moral responsibility” for the assault and resigned.

Chidambaram described the attacks as a ”horrific tragedy” and pledged that the government would do all it could to investigate what happened.

”The government is determined to take the investigation to its logical conclusion and punish the guilty,” he said. — AFP



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