By The SATimes Team
New York: A virtual meeting was held to remember the horror of the Nov. 26, 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai where the metropolis was held hostage for four days and 174 people were killed, including 6 Americans and some 300 wounded. The Lashkar-e-Taiba operating with leaders of the group in Pakistan are widely considered the masterminds behind the attack.
The virtual meeting was organized jointly by the American India Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and American Jewish Committee (AJC) in New York.
The panelists included India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal and his deputy, Shatrughna Sinha, Jagdish Sewhani, president of AIPAC, Rabbi David Levy, AJC regional director, Adva Vinchinsky, Consul for Public Diplomacy at AJC, and Israel Nitzan, acting Consul General of Israel in New York.
Ambassador Jaiswal said that it is important for the global community that Pakistan bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. As the world has come together to fight corona pandemic now, tackling terrorism also needs a strong global cooperation. He called on the international community to ensure that the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which India sponsored at the UN, is adopted at the earliest.
Sewhani said the 26/11 attack shook the world after 9/11. The 10 terrorist commandos from LeT were trained by the Pakistani establishment and its ISI arm to create mayhem in India’s financial capital. He asserted that today, under PM Modi, with unprecedented cooperation from Israel and the US, India is a much safer place. The Indian government has taken strong steps against terrorist groups, their sympathizers and financers, both inside India and outside, and appears to have won several battles against state-sponsored terrorism from across the border.
Sewhani pointed out that Pakistan today is more isolated than ever. Yet, the Pakistani Army, in particular ISI, has not given up its anti-India activities. Terrorist training camps continue to exist in Pakistan and terrorists still try to sneak inside India. He urged the powerful AJC to impress upon the incoming Biden administration not to restore financial aid to Pakistan. He thanked President Trump for standing with India after the Pulwama terrorist attack and for stopping all security aid to Pakistan.
Shatrughna Sinha said that acts of terror not only violate the right to life of the victim but the families rights are also violated. He shared profiles of a few individuals and foreign nationals who lost their lives in the Mumbai attack. Among them were Rabbi Gavriel and his wife Rivka, who was five months pregnant at the time, who was killed when terrorists stormed Chabad House. The couple’s son Moshe Holtzberg was saved by Indian caregiver Sandra Samuel.
Israel Nitzan stressed that Israel, India and the U.S. share deep bonds based on shared experiences and the horrific attack in Mumbai strengthens our deep bond and friendship. He said that we will not allow terrorism to break us. The objective of the 26/11 attack was to cripple the economy, society and its vivid and wonderful culture, but the terrorists failed miserably. Indian economy has continued to grow stronger, its society is resilient and the relations with Israel grows stronger. He said the presence of Chabad House in Mumbai is testimony to the pluralism of Indian society. Nitzan said that Israel, India and the U.S. have extraordinary cooperation in counterterrorism and fighting hate and radicalism.
Rabbi David Levy and Adva Vilchinski also spoke at the event.