In India, visitors to elite hotels encounter what has now become a familiar drill: a body scan and a check of one’s belongings. If they arrive by car, guards also look inside the vehicle’s trunk and hood. These security precautions were put in place almost immediately after the Nov. 26, 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which included targets such as the city’s iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
But the decade-old hotel checks are perfunctory; it is not difficult to imagine even a petty criminal bypassing the guards, let alone a trained terrorist. And worse, the half-hearted security measures characterize a larger issue, which is that more than a decade after the most devastating terrorist attack on Indian soil, the country’s security establishment has failed to rectify crucial systemic flaws.