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'The masterminds are not in India'

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
Last updated on: July 12, 2006 15:16 IST
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British intelligence analyst Richard M Bennett says the serial attacks in Mumbai were masterminded by outfits from abroad.

According to him, "The level of sophistication and organisation needed to carry out such a widespread and tightly coordinated attack is beyond the known capabilities of any of the Islamic groups operating in either Kashmir or elsewhere in India."

In an e-mail to immediately after the blasts, he said, "This has all the hallmarks of a Special Forces/Intelligence operation... it may have been carried out by expendable extremists, but those who were the promoters and brains have military training."

"The Mumbai blasts is an attack on India's soft underbelly," said Ajit Doval, former director, Intelligence Bureau.

Doval too agrees with the views of the British expert. "From my experience I think that the blasts are not an indigenous effort. It is the exported variety of terrorism. The blasts of Mumbai have a foreign origin and it is obvious that a lot of effort has gone behind its execution."

Doval, who extensively investigated fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim's involvement in the March 12, 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, said, "The saboteurs are telling India that they are alive, kicking and have the capacity to strike at any place in India, at a time of their choosing."

"India must give a counter message," Doval said. "We must prove that we have the capacity to hound them wherever they are. Terrorists must get the message that the threshold level of patience of Indians is not infinite. If we don't do something now then the enemies of India will keep surprising us."

"Today's blasts must have involved more than 25 people who might have knowingly and unknowingly participated. It is very likely that the masterminds are not in India. The actual perpetrators may not be more than four or five but these guys must have got help from many people. The infrastructure for these blasts must have been quite big. Motor vehicles, local agents, people who provided cover to terrorists and people who planted the devices must have been involved. They should be and will be found out."

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi