UPDATE: As always read Bill Roggio although he seems to take the same view this was too complex for a local group. I disconcur.
The attacks appear to have been planned, but I am not going to fall in the trap of calling them sophisticated. How hard is it to gather a dozen fanatics, hand them an AK, a backpack full of ammo, hand grenades and almonds and tell them to shoot westerners in a hotel. If they came in on boats that is an additional degree of difficulty, but it's not like they were storming Normandy. In addition if they launched from the cargo ship already identified, they have given valuable info to those who will investigate the crime.
They hit a number of targets (10 or more) and again while a complicating factor not much more difficult. The reason the degree of sophistication matters is in determining who did this, and were they a local Indian group, a local group that was trained abroad, or a foreign group infiltrating. The news reports seem to have decided that an attack of this complexity is beyond the capability of local Indians. I find that comical given the fact that half of India works in IT shops pounding out the complicated computer code that runs the rest of the world. Most of the 9-11 bastards were college-educated , India has plenty of potential recruits so it is certainly possible local groups could have done this.
That said, Pakistan has many groups capable and desirous of making attacks like this and their Intel svc, often acts as a terrorist support unit. India's leader Manmohan Singh already stated this event had outside influence and neighbors should expect them to take action. Another thing to consider is where the heck is al Qaeda? If they weren't involved, then what relevance do they still hold. I mean if an unaffiliated group can pull this off and bin Laden can't even be roused from room temp to make a video, well maybe their time has passed. It will be a while before we know who did this and even then we won't really know because we have no human intel to speak of.
Another thing I have heard discussed is that the particular methodology points to one group or not another. Well maybe, but the tactics we are talking about are simply the lowest common denominator of modern slaughter. In previous incarnations helpless victims were hacked to death, or beaten to death, or drowned or whatever. These murderous scum simply took the basic tools of guns and grenades and walked around hotels shooting un-armed people. Wow, that is an amazingly nuanced form of terror. The lack of suicide bombers is supposed to eliminate al Qaeda, but why they aren't allowed to change tactics. This was obviously effective. It actually mirrors my nightmare scenario of a shoot up of a mall food court somewhere deep in red state America. The terrorists understood that hitting our icons in NY would be a powerful message, but it is less effective as a terror tool than my scenario. If they hit Des Moines, they could hit Tucson, or Tuscaloosa. That was what I was afraid of in the days and weeks after 9-11. If they had done that it would have freaked us out and potentially paralyzed us.
I have trained and trained with several Indian Commando units and they have some very skilled operators. Their small unit tactical ability is very high. The area where they wold have had difficulty here is command and control. They have many specialized units in the military, police and some that are a mix of both. But there is no centralized entity that could quickly coordinate all of these, let allow allow them to communicate easily between them. Add in multiple locations and the hysteria caused by the carnage and it is not surprising it has taken this long to gain control. There were also thoughts from some that some or even many of the casualties were caused by trigger happy police. I find it unlikely that they killed more accidentally than the murderers did purposefully.
More as more info surfaces.