A Jewish man surveys the scene at Mumbai's Chabad house, after 2008 attack
A Jewish man surveys the scene at Mumbai's Chabad house, after 2008 attackFlash 90

India on Wednesday marked six years since Islamist terrorists stormed Mumbai in three days of horror that left 166 people dead, as survivors said they would never be "beaten back by terror".  

Families of victims and politicians laid flowers and wreaths at sites around the city to remember those slain in 2008 when Islamist gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and a Chabad Jewish center in an unprecedented coordinated massacre in the country.

"Today, as we remember the horror of the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008, we feel the endless pain of lost lives," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a speech at a regional summit in Kathmandu.

"Let us work together to fulfill the pledge we have taken to combat terrorism and transnational crimes."

Live television footage was beamed around the world as commandos battled the gunmen, who arrived by sea on the evening of November 26. It took authorities three days to regain full control of the city.  

India blames the attacks on Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Tense relations between the rival neighbors hit a fresh low as New Delhi pressed Islamabad to bring the masterminds of the attack to justice. Pakistan's ISI intelligence service has long been accused of having links to several Islamist terrorist group - including Lashkar-e-Taiba - which it allegedly uses as part of a proxy campaign against India.

Sourav Mishra remembers enjoying a beer with two friends at Leopold Cafe, a popular haunt for foreign tourists, when a grenade exploded at the next table and the terrorists opened fire.

"Something went off with a flash close to my table and the guy there crumpled," Mishra told AFP.

"I was sipping beer one moment and then death had become a very real possibility as blood soaked my clothes," said Mishra, who suffered shrapnel and a bullet wound.  

At the Chabad House Jewish center, another high-profile target where six people were killed, an official said its reopening in August showed its community would "never be beaten back by terror".

"Followers of the movement passing through here have been lighting a single candle for the past week in remembrance of the people slain in this disaster," Naftali Charter, head of security at the center, told AFP.

A memorial for all of the victims of the Mumbai attacks is being built on the center's roof and will be "finished shortly", Charter said.