1993 Bombay(now known as Mumbai) Bombings, marked the beginning of a series of three major terrorist attacks over 15 years. All targeting India’s bustling commercial capital Bombay(then). These Bombay blasts 1993 sent shockwaves through the nation and had far-reaching consequences. Let’s talk about the events of that fateful day, explore the reasons behind Mumbai’s vulnerability. And shed light on the covert forces that orchestrated these attacks.
The 1993 Bombay Bombings: A Devastating Tragedy
Exactly 28 years ago, on March 12, 1993, a series of 12 bomb explosions rocked Bombay. The blast waves, traveling at supersonic speeds, turned metal and concrete into deadly missiles, claiming the lives of 257 Mumbaikars and leaving over 1,400 others severely injured.
These Bombay blasts 1993 targeted not only innocent lives but also prominent landmarks. Five-star hotels, the Bombay stock exchange, and the regional passport office.
Also, Bombay blasts 1993 or bombings were among the earliest versions of what the US now terms Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CCTA). Prior to the hijack-suicide bombings of September 11, 2001, these attacks stood as the most devastating serial bomb attacks on any city, carried out with military-grade explosives.
Series of Attacks on Mumbai
Bombay blasts 1993 were just the beginning of a series of attacks on Mumbai carried out by the Pakistan Army’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The subsequent attacks included the 2006 train bombings that killed 202 commuters. And the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks, which claimed the lives of 166 people. These military-style assaults on Mumbai were executed by so-called ‘non-state actors,’ granting GHQ Rawalpindi ‘plausible deniability.’
Mumbai: A Prime Target
Former Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria succinctly asked in his 2020 autobiography, ‘Let Me Say It Now,’ why Mumbai was such an attractive target.
His answer was clear: “Because a successful attack on Mumbai means a decisive blow to the economy and reputation of India.”Excerpts from 1933 Mumbai Police Commissioner’s Rakesh Maria’s Autobiography
Lack of Coordination and Government Response
The attacks exposed a recurring issue – the lack of coordination between central agencies. The journalist Hussain Zaidi, in his 2002 book ‘Black Friday,‘ revealed that there were intelligence inputs regarding the landing of arms and explosives in Raigad. However, these warnings didn’t work, and the attacks went forward.
The Union government in New Delhi responded weakly, failing to comprehend the true nature of the covert war they were facing.
Masterminds Behind the Attacks
While the foot soldiers behind the attacks were swiftly apprehended and linked to the Dubai-based underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. The true masterminds were the Pakistan Army and its military spy agency, the ISI.
Lt General Javed Nasir, then heading the ISI, played a pivotal role. With the ISI’s assistance, a massive shipment of nearly three tonnes of RDX and 1,100 detonators reached the Bombay coast.
The ISI also planned a sinister Phase 2 of the attacks, which included the targeting of government buildings.
International Concerns and Consequences
International concerns over Pakistan’s involvement in supporting terrorism escalated. United States considers Pakistan a suspect in state sponsoring the terrorism. Pressure mounted from various quarters, leading to Nasir’s removal in May 1993.
Covert Support and Nuclear Weapons
The roots of these attacks can be traced back to Pakistan’s covert support of non-state actors and its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Therefore Pakistan’s assistance to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War and its acquisition of nuclear weapons created a dangerous mix. By the early 1990s, these assets were integrated into Pakistan’s strategy to destabilize India through insurgencies.
A Turning Point: Retaliation and Diplomacy
Despite the audacious nature of the Bombay attacks, New Delhi initially refrained from retaliation. However, the narrative began to change in 2016 when India authorized cross-border commando raids. Further, the Pulwama bomb attack in 2019 led to kinetic measures, diplomatic pressure, and economic sanctions against Pakistan.
Summary: Final Words
The 1993 Bombay bombings were a dark chapter in India’s history, revealing the intricate web of covert operations and state-sponsored terrorism. While India has taken measures to counter such threats, the infrastructure of terrorism still exists in Pakistan. With the changing dynamics in the region, the need for international cooperation to combat terrorism remains paramount.