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Research Report

THE 2008 MUMBAI TERRORIST ATTACKS: STRATEGIC FALLOUT

Rajesh Basrur
Timothy Hoyt
Rifaat Hussain
Sujoyini Mandal
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2009
Pages: 116
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep05887
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-6)

    On the night of 26 November 2008, a band of 10 well-armed terrorists, who had set out by boat from Karachi in Pakistan, launched an onslaught on India’s commercial capital, Mumbai, slaughtering 166 people and holding the city in fear and thrall for three days.¹ Those killed in Mumbai included 25 foreign nationals, which immediately made the attacks more than a bilateral India-Pakistan issue. The main targets of the terrorists, who were organized in five two-man teams, were two luxury hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi-Trident; the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a railway station heavily used by both local commuters...

  2. (pp. 7-16)

    India’s response to the Mumbai attacks in 2008 was outrage, as was its response to the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, but it was tempered by the previous experience, which had produced a prolonged crisis without a clear denouement. In hindsight, it might be argued that this was not even a crisis, and that, learning from their recent confrontation, India and Pakistan came to terms quite quickly. But at the time, as events were unfolding, there was no certainty that this would indeed be the case and the armed forces of the two countries were on alert. What...

  3. (pp. 17-31)

    The crisis began on a relatively mild note but quickly spiralled to harsh words and rhetoric in a rapid action-reaction process. Initially, India did not blame the civilian government in Pakistan for being directly involved in the incidents, but accused the LeT of perpetrating the attacks. But Pakistani responsibility was underlined by Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee, who held “some elements” in Pakistan for being responsible and demanded that its government not permit the use of its territory for terrorism against India.¹ On 1 December, India handed over two demarches to Pakistan. In the first demarche, India accused “elements...

  4. (pp. 32-47)

    In this chapter, we ask three key questions. First, what was the impact of the Mumbai terrorist attack on India, the target country? Second, how did the attack affect the India-Pakistan strategic relationship? And third, what are the global implications of the attack? We end with a brief set of general policy prescriptions for the three main players: India, Pakistan and the United States.

    The targeting of two of Mumbai’s most well-known hotels, which are patronized by the national and international business community, was an indication that the terrorists may have wanted to influence business sentiment as in 1993, when...