Monday, July 17, 2006

The Mumbai Blasts: Recently Available Information

It is almost a week since the event and we have the following information

1) The explosives used in the blasts were ANFO triggered with RDX. The ANFO was packed into a metal box (sometimes described as a tiffin box in the media). The packing improves ANFO's explosive characteristics. The RDX generated a shock-wave needed to detonate the ANFO. The RDX itself was detonated in a controlled fashion using pencil timers. This is a complicated four step explosive device. The chemical timer is the low explosive trigger, a blasting cap in the timer is the primary high explosive, RDX is the secondary high explosive and acts as a booster, the ANFO is the tertiary high explosive. Investigations are underway to identify the origin of the explosives and the timers. There is still debate over how exactly the sequence was initiated.

2) There are a number of financial trails leading off from the event. Aside of nodes in the Middle East, the trail appears to lead to London. As India has friendly ties to Britian, I expect that our investigations will proceed unhindered in any fashion. I am certain that the UK wants no part of the blame for these events.

3) There is sufficient cause to detain any number of SIMI and Sa-Pa related figures. The investigation of these persons will take time but early leads are pointing to known infiltration channels along the Bangladesh and Nepal borders. A line of enquiry into involvement of the LeT's sub units and factions is also being pursued aggresively. I anticipate that a week or so from now a Special Investigation Team will be appointed to prosecute the matter. I expect that ATS and Crime Branch which have been at the forefront of this will get some relief.

4) There is little doubt in the minds of Indians - both the politicians and the public - that the Pakistanis had a hand in this. However there is a desire to understand which Pakistanis were specificially responsible for this act. Unless this question is answered quickly, the mild diplomatic posturing over the Indo-Pak talks will give way to other forms of communication.
India wants good ties with Pakistan, it is up to Pakistan to clean up its act. I note Mr. Kasuri has changed his tone - but that does little to change the fact that his views are being seen now as being complete irrelevant - he can jump naked off the top of Kawish Crowne Plaza if he wants - no one in India cares. BTW is Pervez Musharraf still the COAS? - what is the point of calling him COAS when no one pays attention to what he is saying?

5) As regards other international actors, how India will behave with them in the future will be determined by how they are seen as reacting to India's call for public support. Today India is calm and reasoned in its approach to a crisis of extremely serious proportions and failure to respond positively to this will send a signal of unmistakable hostility. For example, if India's call for a joint resolution condemning Pakistan's support for terrorism in India is not answered - India will interpret that some nations in the G-8 seek to harm India's security by being ambivalent towards Pakistan's support. I don't think Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be very happy if the G-8 does not publicly and unanimously support his resolution.

This is not the first or the last terrorist act in the world. Only fools believe that the terrorists that they support in another land will not someday bite the hand that feeds.


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