The lack of preparedness for the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India, last year calls for heightened cooperation among nations to contain terrorist threats around the world, panelists concluded at a Dec. 23 seminar held in Chamblee.
The Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, the American-Jewish Committee and the Southern Center for International Studies sponsored the seminar at the Bombay Grill’s Kitchen.
Speakers included Anupam Srivastava, director of the Asia program at the University of Georgia’s Center for International Trade and Security and Reda Mansour, Israel’s consul general in Atlanta. Ani Agnihotri, founder, U.S. India Business and Research Center, was the moderator.
“Today’s terrorism threatens everyone regardless of faith, nationality or political beliefs,” Mr. Mansour said. “The entire international community must unite against a common threat.”
He also said that debates of the 1950s and 60s about the definitions for “freedom fighters” and “terrorists” are obsolete, and that the new age of global terrorism pre-dates the explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
As an example of the extensiveness of a global terrorist web, Mr. Mansour traced ties among Spain‘s Basque Homeland and Freedom separatist movement, known as ETA, guerrillas in Colombia and the Hamas political party in the Gaza Strip.
Dr. Srivastava provided a detailed account of how 10 gunmen conducted their seaborne assault on luxury hotels, a train station, tourist attractions and a Jewish religious and cultural center.
The ability of the terrorists to wend their way through the Indian navy and coast guard and then create so much havoc in Mumbai pointed out the immediate need for more patrol boats and tactical aircraft, he said.
Although the length of the 60-hour battle was the result of authorities trying to protect as many hostages as possible, he said that the police response was obviously inadequate.
“A lot of work has to be done,” Dr. Srivastava insisted, including “a thorough technical assessment to national security threats” globally.
Dr. Srivastava directs projects at the University of Georgia’s Center for International Trade and Security that provide training and research on non-proliferation and technology security to licensing and enforcement officials in China, India and other countries in the Asia Pacific.
Groups such as the Mumbai terrorists, he said, make no demands or claim any responsibility and have as their only agenda “a loss of investor confidence.”
While terrorism in India is not new, he added, the targeting of Western visitors and the Jewish center indicated a new attention-getting strategy.
Meanwhile, India has cooperated on terrorism issues with many other countries, he said, including Israel with which it has had an eight-year strategic partnership.
He also said that India has worked on security issues with the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Russia.
To learn more about the Center for International Trade and Security, go to http://www.uga.edu/cits/.
Click here to learn more about activities of the Israeli consulate general in Atlanta.