- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

US Businesses Express Solidarity, Unite Against Terror in Mumbai

India West, News Report, Ashfaque Swapan Posted: Dec 08, 2008

As India reels in the aftermath of a murderous spate of terror attacks in Mumbai, its global impact is being felt around the world, most acutely by its expatriate communities, but also substantially by many global businesses that have invested in India's powerhouse emerging economy.

U.S. businesses are expressing solidarity and the Indian American community here is reflecting on an appropriate response, while an academic expert has warned that unless the U.S. pushes Pakistan to do more, Indo-U.S. ties may suffer.

Many Americans felt a personal shock as news of the terror attacks unfolded.

"What a nightmare weekend! I ate my Thanksgiving dinner sitting in front of a television. I mean, how many friends have we lost? It's horrible," Ron Somers, president of the U.S. India Business Council, told India-West. "The senselessness, it enrages everyone, it boils blood."

USIBC is the liaising arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for India.

Growing political and economic ties have led to a ballooning of U.S.-India's trade in the past two decades. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, India's exports to the U.S. have grown almost eightfold from $3.19 billion in 1990 to $24.07 billion in 2007.

Somers said U.S. businesses were emphatically supportive of India. "Many of our companies have shown a resolute commitment to demonstrating solidarity with India by getting right back on the airplane and demonstrating their appreciation and respect for the people of India," he said. "I have seen a redoubled effort commitment like never before how we now have to stand as one, united against this scourge of terror."

Deeper U.S. Indian ties have increased the shock as well as the instinct to rally behind India, he said. "The (Indian) student population (here), the 1.8 million Americans of Indian origin, the fact that so many of our companies are now investing in India, the fact that so many global Indian companies are now investing in the U.S., creating jobs here, the fact that India is now a known quantity, the fact that everybody knows where Bangalore is, or Chennai, the fact that we all have friends in these cities, it was a complete shocker that such an outrageous assault would take place, and . . . it elicited an absolute sentiment of solidarity which is positive and is affirming. It is wonderfully affirming in the sense that we stand together united against this scourge of terror."

Sanjay Puri, chairman of the U.S. India Political Action Committee, said that the long-term effect on Indo-U.S. economic ties may be minimal.

"Maybe in the short duration you might see a drop in tourism or things like that this will also depend on how India currently reacts. I just don't see a long term (effect)," Puri told India-West.

Puri told India-West that a trip by a USINPAC delegation on nuclear issues had to be canceled after the Mumbai attacks. Puri himself was not scheduled to be part of the delegation.

To be sure, there have been immediate effects. The Wall Street Journal reported that many companies announced travel restrictions as well as other changes to routine. FedEx Corp., which has at least 16 facilities throughout India, suspended all pickups and deliveries in the "impacted areas" of Mumbai.

Microsoft Corp. advised its employees in the city to work from home. Walt Disney Co. shut its Mumbai office to allow its approximately 185 employees to be with their families and to avoid travel in the city center. All Mumbai outlets of KFC were closed for a day.

Puri echoed some of the rage that has been sweeping over India over the perceived lapses of government authorities in the wake of the terror attacks.

"People are just horrified to see what is happening. There is a lot of anger in India right now," said Puri.

"There is a lot of anger in Indian Americans. The time has come for India to deal with this issue . . . and take it head-on, otherwise it is going to die by a thousand cuts. That is the message we are giving to lawmakers. That is what we are giving to the administration."

Sumit Ganguly, the Rabindranath Tagore chair of Indian Cultures and Civilizations at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, was blunt.

"This is a matter of absolute fury," Ganguly told India-West. "Now there is clear-cut evidence . . . that these people came from Pakistan. What is Pakistan doing nurturing these people on its soil? No more prevarication, no more equivocation on this subject. This is the moment of truth."

If the U.S. did not get assertive on this issue, Indo-U.S. ties could suffer, he warned.

"If the U.S. continues to say that India and Pakistan should continue the peace process, I am afraid it's going to have a very damaging impact on Indo-U.S. relations. It's time for the U.S. to take a much more proactive position," he said. "All this talk about (Pakistani President Asif) Zardari sending the head of the ISI is ridiculous. What he should be offering is to shut down the (militant groups) Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad. That will constitute real action. Anything short of that is meaningless. And the U.S. should be working to that end."

Rajen Anand, chairman of the National Federation of Indian American organizations, agreed that the Indian American community is angry.

"I think people are really outraged. It's not a question of shock. This is happening constantly and the government has not taken steps to take control of the situation," Anand told India-West.

However, he expressed the hope that India's response will be measured and reasoned. "There is always a group of people who would like India to take strong action," he said. "I hope sanity prevails in India. I believe they should work with the government of Pakistan and try to work together to wipe out terror."

Indian American community groups were meeting all over the U.S. and issuing statements, he said. USIBC, USINPAC and NFIA are among many organizations that have issues statements condemning the terror attacks and mourning the loss of lives.

The key, he said, was for Pakistan and India to resolve the Kashmir conflict. "Pakistan and India must get together. If Pakistan and India can get together and solve their problems, that's the best that can happen," he said.

Naren Bakshi, an entrepreneur and community activist who now divides his time between Jaipur and the Silicon Valley, said this was a time to come together.

"The fact that this is happening again and again means that our institutions need to be also stronger," he told India-West.

While policing needed to be more robust, the rule of law was important, too, he said.

"I am all for making sure that culprits are being punished, but under due process," he said.

In the long term, he said, India's economy would not be affected adversely. "I have done a lot of calling in the last two days," he said. "Our sense is this will definitely have a small short-term effect, but will not have a long-term impact because the relationships are pretty deep now.

"Our counterparts in America are very connected to our community here as well as in India. So they are able to get a fair picture. In the past the rumors, the fear, one travel advisory, (and) everybody gets completely out of whack. Those things are less likely because people have close connections now."

Bakshi, who is the global chair of The Indus Entrepreneurs, said he was on his way to an Asian conference of entrepreneurs in Bangalore. It's full steam ahead for the conference, he said. "The worst thing we can do is not to conduct our conference that is there to create jobs," he said.

Anjula Acharia-Bath, co-founder of New York-based DesiHits.Com, is confident that India will recover.

"I have no doubt that India will bounce back," she told India-West. "The people of India are resilient. Let's face it, they go through far more hardships on a daily basis in life than most people in the Western world."

She said that terror attacks did not deter entrepreneurs or businesses any more.

"This has happened all over the world. This has happened in New York, this has happened in London, it's happening in Israel, it's happening in places where innovation is at its highest and people are coming back. The bottom line is India still stands out amongst emerging markets, with its large middle class."

Americans will be ardent participants in India's economic future, USIBC president Somers said.

"I expect recovery, and as soon as order is restored to the point that safe travel is assured, you are going to see American businessmen back in Mumbai, because the fundamentals remain strong," he said.

"India is a country filled with talented people, talented work force, it's an economy growing at better than 7 percent GDP, it's the world's largest free-market democracy, it embraces the rule of law and even such a major attack cannot dent the enthusiasm American business has for India."

Related Articles:

Mumbai Attacks Hit Home For Young South Asian Americans

Mumbai Terrorists Wear Uniform of Young India

Live Blogging the Mumbai Attacks

Lessons From 9/11 For India Today

As the Mumbai Fires Die, the Terror of the Aftermath

Dawood -- Did Criminal Mastermind Stage Mumbai Nightmare?

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

International Affairs