Tag Archives: Mumbai

TEDxHitechCity – Karuna Gopal – The Truth about Indian Cities

Karuna Gopal from the Foundation of Futuristic Cities was the main speaker at a recent Tedx conference (TEDx: TEDx is a new program that enables local communities such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods or just groups of friends to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events.).

As always Karuna’s fiery talk was about Indian cities and their state. She highlighted the poor state our cities are in and the need for their development on our future.

The topic of Karuna’s talk was: The Truth about Indian Cities.

Watch her talk about the issues and how important they are:

Karuna’s organization the Foundation for Futuristic Cities has done pioneering work in the area of City Development and is determined to carry it forward.

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PM Stephen Harper in India with hopes of ‘new era of partnership’

 

Prime Minister Stephen HarperThe Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has arrived in Mumbai on a three-day state visit to India. He hopes his visit will mark “a new era of partnership” between the two countries. The two nations are expected to finalize a civil nuclear deal and ink a major economic treaty during Harper’s visit.

The Canadian PM is on a extensive tour of Asia where he was attending the APEC summit in Singapore. In addition to Mumbai, the agenda also lists stops in New Delhi and Amritsar. He has a busy schedule on his three day tour with the first day starting with a round table with Indian investors in Canada. He is also scheduled for a tour of Chabad House, the Jewish centre that was the site of a hostage-taking and terror attack a year ago during Mumbai attacks.

This also seems to be the first step in Canada looking eastwards for growing markets and economic cooperation.

 

Acknowledging the growing importance of Asian trade to Canadian prosperity, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday that Canada will increasingly look eastward for its future.

While Canada’s economy was built through trans-Atlantic trade, our future prosperity will increasingly depend on our ties to the Pacific,” Harper told reporters as the close of the APEC summit here.

It wasn’t a formal policy statement by any stretch but it might be the first step in getting there.

 

The PM seemed to echo the sentiments of other leaders including U.S. President Obama, who felt that the importance of economies in this region has grown after the economic slump.

 

The region is home to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies,” Harper acknowledged during a post-summit briefing.

The Canadian PM also felt that the current Conservative government has actually re-engaged in India in a way Canadian governments have not since the 1970s. While downplaying the fact that he is visiting India after almost four years of taking over the charge of government he said that he has met Indian leaders “on numerous occasions” and there have been a number of ministerial visits. He brushed off suggestions that he is late coming to the table with the two Asian nations housing one-third of human population.

He is also scheduled to visit China next month. Relations between Canada and China had strained a bit after Harper came to power in 2006, after Canada had criticized Chinese stand on Human Rights.

Indian PM, Manmohan Singh and Harper are likely to talk about a Canada-India Free Trade Agreement or a series of smaller steps to lower trade barriers between the two nations.

Harper recently noted that “there is a tremendous amount of potential” in Canada’s ties with India.

 

(Harper said) “we share a history of cooperation in the Commonwealth and the United Nations, as well as a shared commitment to pluralism, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Our goal is to build a stronger, more dynamic partnership based on shared commercial, political and regional interests,” Harper had said.

 

The Canadian PM is also meeting Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar for a photo-shoot. In another photo opportunity later in the day Harper and his wife Laureen will visit Indo-Canadian contestants in the reality show Dance Premier League.

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India on Alert: Simultaneous multi-city terror attacks possible

Mumbai Attacks (26/11)

26/11 Attack on India

After vehemently rejecting the earlier alarm raised by security agencies of probably multi-location attack on India, the central government went on to put five states on a probably terror alert. The urgency of the current alert gains more prominence in the backdrop of latest developments in the case of the American terror suspect David Headley. Headley was arrested alongwith a Pakistani-origin Canadian citizen Tahawwur Hussain Rana by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago. The duo has been charged of perpetrating probable attacks on India and Denmark.

There is a terror threat and it is more widespread than believed earlier by the government, which says it now knows more about the plot since the alert last week.

Now Intelligence sources have warned that there could be multiple and simultaneous attacks in five cities that American terror suspect, David Headley, visited. Headley is believed to have had links with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Security agencies investigating the incidents have found evidence which proves that Headley had visited India many times before and during last year’s deadly Mumbai terror attacks. Headley has been linked to the terror-outfit Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT) which had perpetrated the Mumbai attacks. He is alleged to be running an immigration agency in Mumbai. On his trips to India between 2006-09 he had done recce of major installations including the National Defense College.

They said the warnings had been issued as a precautionary measure after it was found that Headley had visited Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Agra and Delhi and done a recce of the National Defence College and vital installations in other cities.

The sources said it was possible that Headley had established sleeper cells in these States. He was also recruiting cadres for Pakistan-based terror group Lashker-e-Taiba, for sending them to a Gulf country using the services of his immigration business in Mumbai.

The Home Ministry officials also indicated that the threat of attacks is higher through infiltration via the west coast like the last year attack on Mumbai. The Coast Guard and state police have been asked to be on a high alert in Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad as well alert has been raised at Bangalore; the software hub of India.

The Intelligence Bureau has received some inputs from state governments that terrorists were trying to infiltrate through the Indian west coast and target vital installations in the country,” a home ministry official said.

Security at major security installations and places of high public traffic like airports, railway stations have also been beefed by across the nation as the first anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai approach which claimed more than 170 lives.

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India: National Defense College, Schools and 5-Star hotel on target

Mumbai Attacks (26/11)

26/11 Attack on India

David Coleman Headley and his associate Tahawwur Hussain Rana, both US citizens of Pakistani origin who were arrested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investgation (FBI) in Chicago last month for hatching a plot to attack India and Denmark have revealed more sinister plans.

 

The federal agency while opposing a bail plea of the duo deposed that Headley and Rana has planned in unison with Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) plans to attack the National Defense College in Delhi along with two coveted boarding schools located in hill stations in North India as well as a few five-star hotels frequented by foreign tourists.

The names of other targets have not been released to avoid panic.

mumbai-attacks

26/11 attack at CSTM

A leading Lashkar operative, Ilyas Kashmiri has already issued challenge to India to stop another 26/11 style attack where hundreds lost life. He had recently told media that the Mumbai attacks are nothing compared to what’s in store. Headley was in constant touch with Kashmiri and reports say that he was supposed to be coordinating the plans.

 

Earlier reports did not reveal the actual motive or plan of the attack.

 

The transcripts of phone conversations and emails in FBI’s possession indicate that LeT was planning to use Headley for attack on an Indian actor named “Rahul”. Headley is reported to have divulged to the FBI his intention to travel to Pakistan in early October where he was supposed to meet with an unidentified LeT individual and another man named (Ilyas) Kashmiri, an LeT terrorist who was earlier with Pakistan’s Special Services Group.

 

Kashmiri, (aged 45) who is the head of the Al-Qaeda’s head of military operations, carries a bounty of USD 600,000 dollars on his head. He is viewed as the guerilla expert of Al-Qaeda who turns strategic vision into reality. He was also an active participant in the Soviet-Afghan War and was responsible for training the Afghan Mujahideen.

He has a long and terror-filed history of executing such acts.

 

Kashmiri’s terror is long known. He was once detained by the ISI for the attempted assasination of General Musharraf. Kasmiris was later cleared and released.

Kashmiri’s group also includes Sheikh Omar Saeed who in 2002 abducted US reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi. Pearl was later found brutally killed.

Meanwhile the Home Minister, P Chidambaram in a statement said that the government if aware of the report and the situation is “fully under control“.

 

Do not worry about the (FBI) report. We are fully aware of the contents of the report and the situation is under control,” Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told a press conference here.

 

While the Home Minister said that the situation was “fully under control”; the Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor had a different story to tell.

 

The US has not allowed a second 9/11, Indonesia has not allowed a second Bali,” Kapoor said, adding that India had allowed those behind the “2001 Parliament attack, Delhi blasts and Mumbai terror attack” to get away.

India cannot afford a repeat of 26/11,” the Army chief said while addressing a seminar on Network Centricity and National Security organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi.

Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju who was present at the function, echoed Gen. Kapoor’s view while saying that considering the “fragile internal security scenario“, there had to be new centres to facilitate rapid action across the country and better coordination among intelligence agencies and security forces.

The Army and other intelligence authorities have recently raised alarm over probable strikes which were denied by the Home Ministry.

 

We have to take all steps to prevent any Mumbai-type attacks. We cannot rule out apprehensions of such possibilities,” Gen Kapoor said on the sidelines of an Army function here.

Asked about the threat of terror spillover from the Af-Pak region, the Army chief said the entire South Asian region was infested with terror groups. “We have to collectively battle such threats,” he said.

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12 Coaches of Gandhigram-Bangalore Express derail, 2 injured

Bangalore bound Gandhigram express met with an accident on Wednesday, at around midnight (local time) when 12 coaches of the train derailed between Bhiwandi and Kopar station in Maharashtra’s Thane district.

Twelve coaches of Gandhidham express were derailed when the train was approaching Bhiwandi in Thane district. Twelve passengers sustained injuries,” Central Railways PRO (Public Relations Officer) A K Jain said.

Mumbai Railway Map

Mumbai Suburban Train Map

After the accident, another train was sent and all the passenger were shifted to the train. While the relief work is on, the passengers set of to their destination. The railway authorities expect that the incident would not affect the local train services in Central and Harbour railway lines.

However, four trains between the Western and Central line have been cancelled and two long distance trains were diverted, he said, adding restoration work is on. In an earlier statement Railway authorities had feared that 12 passengers were injured, but later confirmed that only two were wounded.

Local train services are like the lifelines of Mumbai which criss-cross the commercial capital of the nation, carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers daily to there offices and back.

Restoration work was immediately started. One line was normalised for train operation at 3.45 am. Relief Train with the same composition was immediately arranged and the passengers of the affected train were accommodated in the relief train which left for Bangaluru at 5.15 am. Tea and Breakfast was arranged for the passengers at Kalyan.

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US Marines “Grounded” in Mumbai

NA Airlines Detained in Mumbai

NA Airlines Detained in Mumbai

A chartered North American Airlines Boeing 767 on its way to Bangkok from Fujairah in the UAE carrying one of the most coveted armed forces in the world, the US Marines was forced to land by the Indian Air Force (IAF) after it was detected to be flying in the Indian airspace without the requisite Air Operation Routing clearance (AOR) necessary to ferry military personnel and ammunition. The plane had Marines among its 205 passengers.

The plane was allowed to head for its destination late on Sunday night after defence-related clearance issues were sorted out, TV reports said. The flight is likely to resume its journey on Monday, airport officials said.M G Jhungare, GM of Mumbai Air Traffic Control, told TOI,“The aircraft, with military personnel on board, was passing over Mumbai. While civilian aircraft take permission from the Director General of Civil Aviation for using Indian airspace, military planes or those carrying ammunition must take permission from the defence ministry. This one didn’t have the permission. We asked the pilot to land in Mumbai on the instructions of defence ministry officials.

The army personnel were travelling under the US military central command program called R&R (Rest and Recuperation) meant for both civilians and combat personnel attached to the defense department. The marines were in possession of submachine guns and Glock pistols though the US Consulate in Mumbai said that its not unusual for them to carry light weapons even on such trips.

The aircraft was landed at 7:52am local time on Sunday morning at the Mumbai airport and after the immigration and legal procedures the flight was cleared to take off by 2:30pm. Though due to completing maximum flying hours the crew had to be rested and hence the flight is now scheduled to fly out on Monday.

The passengers and the crew have been put up at a local five-star hotel and the Mumbai police have beefed up the security in and around the area. Bomb detection and disposal squad has also been pressed into service. The location has not been revealed due to security reasons.

Necessary security measures have been taken to ensure the safety of all the passengers,” Deputy Police Commissioner Brijesh Singh said.

The consulate personnel also said that they will be sent on a local sightseeing on Monday before leaving Mumbai.

We are pleased that we were able to resolve this procedural matter in an expeditious fashion and appreciate the assistance and co-operation of the Indian authorities,” the US consulate said.

This is the fourth airspace violation by a foreign plane in India since June this year. The IAF has made three such interventions and landed planes without requisite clearance. The fourth one was a C-130 plane of the UAE Air Force which was on its way to Hanyang in China from Abu Dhabi and had landed at the Kolkata airport to refuel. The security personnel later detected an undisclosed cache of arms and ammunition and the plane was released after five-days when the UAE authorities pitched in.

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