Report: Technology Gave Mumbai Terrorists Tactical Edge

They carried handheld GPS navigators, satellite phones, BlackBerrys and data CDs containing detailed maps and Google Earth images of where they were going.

Their opponents, on the other hand, had outmoded technology and little understanding of the situations they were getting into.

"The [Mumbai] terrorists would not have been able to carry out these attacks had it not been for technology," G. Parthasarathy, an internal security expert at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, India, told the Washington Post in an article published Wednesday. "They were not sailors, but they were able to use sophisticated GPS navigation tools and detailed maps to sail from Karachi [in Pakistan] to Mumbai."

The 10 men who landed on the city's docks last Wednesday to begin the three-day rampage that left more than 170 people dead used satellite phones to call Voice over Internet Protocol in Pakistan, making the calls harder to trace, the Post reports.

Once the attacks began, the terrorists stole cell phones from their victims and swapped the SIM cards to further confuse authorities who might be listening in, and publicly available information gave them plenty of details about their targets.

"Most of their rehearsals to familiarize themselves with Mumbai were done on high-resolution satellite maps, so they would have a good feel for the city's streets and buildings where they were going," terrorism expert Praveen Swami told the Post.

By contrast, the elite Indian soldiers who responded to the attacks were given outdated blueprints of the hotels. They had no sniper scopes, so any attempt by sharpshooters to take out the few men in each building could have endangered the presumed hostages. Lack of night-vision or thermal-imaging goggles limited their advance.

"The only people out of the loop seem to be the Indian security forces," Ajay Sahni, executive director of New Delhi's Institute for Conflict Management, told the Post. "They are a generation behind in understanding the technology that the terrorists used."

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