The terrorist strike in Mumbai was a grim reminder of the failure of our rulers to learn from their past mistakes. In 1993, consignments of arms and explosives used in the serial blasts in Bombay were smuggled from Pakistan by the coastal route due to the negligence or connivance of the central and state agencies responsible for surveillance and security. The operation, designed to exacerbate the communal tensions in the country and deal a body blow to its economy, was carried out by a local mafia ring acting under the directions of its patrons in Pakistan. This experience should have led to a revamp of the apparatus for coastal surveillance and inland security. But this did not happen. Since October 2000, there had been repeated terrorist attacks on high visibility targets such as J & K State Legislative Assembly, Delhi Red Fort, Parliament, American Cultural Centre at Kolkata, Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, Indian Institute of Science and various establishments of the security forces, underscoring the ineptitude and the insularity of the multiple agencies responsible for intelligence, security and emergency response. The cumulative experience of these outrages should have culminated in the setting up of a unified command structure for counterterrorism on the lines of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security established in the wake of 9/ 11. But this did not happen and the agencies concerned and their overlords went about their business as usual, fighting their turf wars and neglecting the imperatives of their core functions.