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26/11: Poor training, not weaponry let Mumbai cops down

NEW DELHI: It was not the quality of weapons but poor training of policemen that handed terrorists an advantage during the Mumbai attack, a ounter-terrorism report from Stratfor, a think tank on geopolitical intelligence has said.

“In the end, the attackers outclassed the Indian police with their marksmanship far more than they outclassed them with their armaments,” says the January 14 Stratfor report.

Stratfor points out that training, and not ammo should be focus. “If a police officer does not have the marksmanship to kill (or even hit) a suspect at 20 or 30 metres with aimed fire from a battle rifle, there is little chance he can control the automatic fire from an assault rifle or submachine gun effectively.”

Going by media reports that the police shot at the Mumbai attackers but missed them, the report says,

“The Lee-Enfield (revolvers used by the Mumbai police) is an accurate and reliable battle rifle that shoots a powerful cartridge, the .303 British, which is a man stopper. Afghan sharpshooters used the Lee-Enfield with great success against the Soviets, and Taliban are still using it against coalition forces in Afghanistan.”

India has never bothered with marksmanship skills among its regular cops, say senior cops in India. According to them, there is not even an ethos for tactical operations among regular cops, let alone training. “The average policeman goes to the range only once a year. For an operation like Mumbai, you need special skills,” says E N Rammohan, former DG, BSF.

Former Delhi Commissioner of Police Ved Marwah emphasises training of the marksmen within the force.

“Nowadays, a recruit is out to work with barely six months of training. Untrained policeman are merely soft targets,” says Marwah.

The News, 17th January, 2009

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