On the night of November 26, teams of heavily armed and gun-toting terrorists stormed Mumbai, the financial capital of India and the sprawling metropolis of in the neighbourhood of 19 million people. The terrorists swooped on two of the city's widely acclaimed luxury and opulent hotels - the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, attacked the bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Station in southern Mumbai and Leopold's restaurant, a Mumbai Landmark. They also opened fire on police headquarters in South Mumbai. At the last count, 195 people have been polished off and 350 injured acutely in the aftermath of this vicious and brutish act. What tugs at our heartstrings is that Mumbai has not been attacked for the first time. It has borne the tragedies of this ilk six times since 1993. Mumbai attacks have cracked the veneer of India's competence on both intelligence and political fronts. For all practical purposes, it is the abysmal failure of India's intelligence agencies as they have been caught napping and flat - footed. The scope of intelligence agencies resides in seeing the problems coming. Going by this principle, Indian intelligence agencies have acquitted themselves badly. It is hard to swallow that a bunch of well-armed and equipped terrorists could use inflatable boats to land in Mumbai, seize vehicles and so handily shoot and kill indiscriminately. It is also beyond belief how these people knew the hotels inside out. The ease with which the terrorists were able to launch attacks and the resistance they put up to the Indian security forces, points up the loopholes in the intelligence and security apparatus. These attacks were meticulously planned, involved two dozen attackers, many more terrorists in back-up roles, vast quantities of arms and ammunition and ten to one crores in funding. And yet India's intelligence services had no idea that such attacks were being planned. The Indian political government also deserves obloquy and opprobrium as its reaction to the attacks was delayed and tardy. The incapability of movers and shakers to bring the situation under control promptly has given the Indians a turn and made their blood run cold. The common people are taking aim at the political Ferris wheels as they have miserably failed to live up to the expectations and provide a shield to the people from terror, albeit international intelligence agencies had tipped the wink to India beforehand. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party, India's main opposition, has taken out front-page advertisements accusing the ruling coalition of failure to defend the nation and stave off dangers. But the most unsavoury and heart-rending feature is that India's government, facing a tirade of internal criticism over intelligence failures and security lapses, has taken the easiest and most cowardly way-out of imputing Pakistan. In lieu of introspection and stock-taking at various internal fronts to diagnose the underbelly, it has resorted to stock excuse and started maligning Pakistan. The Indian government has posited that the Pakistani groups are complicit in this dastardly act and so it has threatened Pakistan of re-barbative and dire consequences. This is all wet and dunderheaded because it is early days yet to identify the group which has made this havoc. Even the smart money on security matters is still in a haze about which organisation has perpetrated terrorist attacks in Mumbai. If we dig down, India's act of pointing accusatory fingers at Pakistan can be confuted on the following grounds: To start with, some eyewitnesses bear out the fact that the gunmen spoke Hindi fluently, which could mean that they were of Indian origin. If we probe, it comes out that there are many communities alienated enough in India to commit such terrorist attacks as Hindu militants have been linked to attacks targeting Muslims and Christians. India is home to many simmering insurgencies, communal tensions and undercurrents. The recent violent protests in Indian Occupied Kashmir, the tension in India's northeast, the armed Naxalite movement etc are the glaring examples in this regard. It is because of India's highly repressive and discriminative policies that many communities bear Hindus grudge and so they may take recourse to such terror attacks to give vent to their pent-up feelings of hatred and anger. Secondly, there is not a scintilla of evidence to give credence to Pakistan's involvement in the Mumbai attacks. The Indian authorities have failed with the best will in the world to furnish any proof despite repeated demands by Pakistan in this regard. For good measure, Pakistan itself stands plagued by extremist violence and has borne colossal loss of life and property. The destruction of the Islamabad Marriott only weeks ago can be adduced in this context. Pakistan army is engaged in a major offensive against extremists in the tribal areas. If Pakistan had followed India's approach characterised by vacuity, it would also have pinned the blame for terrorist activities within its confines on India. But more's the pity, it is only India which is wont to making irresponsible statements and rash decisions to hide a multitude of sins. Thirdly, the timing of the assault is very significant and can go a long way to demystify the situation as the attacks have been staged on the eve of elections to five provincial assemblies. On the top of this, a general election is also approaching in early 2009. All this points towards something else as this may be a sly political move by some Hindu fundamentalist parties to woo the voters by dubbing the congress - led government impotent enough to provide security to the nation and so putting it in a bad light. The conclusionary approach is that India needs to behave sensibly and placate the dissenting voices within its boundary promptly. However, if it acted up and imposed war on Pakistan, it will lose more than gain as Pakistan is on its guard and has kept its powder dry. America has also been warned rightly that in case of any war, Pakistan will be obliged to withdraw its in the region of 1,00,000 troops from the western borders and concentrate on its eastern borders. The writer is a foreign affairs analyst E-mail: irfanasghar99@yahoo.com