Mumbai Attacks: Bombay First Conference @ The Trident - Tape 3
Duration: 00:52:20; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 305.992; Saturation: 0.058; Lightness: 0.263; Volume: 0.143; Cuts per Minute: 3.801; Words per Minute: 93.947
Summary: Two months after the terrible attacks on our city, a gathering of businessmen, security experts, and politicos meet at the same hotel where gunmen had created havoc.
In the quickly renovated chambers of the Regal Room in The Trident, a 6 hour session takes place where much is discussed - terrorism, surveillance, National ID Cards, higher spending on security and tighter centralization of information gathering networks. The Panel of Experts included the deputy mayor of London, a member of the US 9/11 Commission, a US Dept. of Homeland Security advisor, the head of Security for Deutsche Bank Asia Pacific, a former member of NATO Security, and several counter-terrorism experts. From India, it brought together politicians, a former NSG commando, faces from corporate India, and from the media - Gerson DaCunha and Burkha Dutt. The audience included prominent Indian businessmen, heads of security companies, a member of the Shin Bet, and people from 'concerned civil society'.
Such meetings are usually held in five-star hotels behind close doors with members of the public not having a chance to interact with or interrogate arguments made. We see putting this footage in pad.ma as a way to open up arguments and trajectories, moving away from a totalizing discourse around 'terrorism'... annotations are welcome because slowing down the pace of the discourse and examining it in detail and critically might be our only answer to the media juggernaut.
Trident Hotel, Nariman Point
Anil Dharker: Maybe this could be the beginning of a partnership, and I'm sure it can be resilient - the real test came after 26/11 - the city has provided itself to be resilient. but after 26/11, everyone wanted to have a bit more than to show the spirit of the city. The city wanted that we should be prepared for future emergencies, if they do occur, how do we deal with efficiency and speed. I think some of the subjects we can talk about is how does one deal with emergencies - how have we dealt with them in the past, what can we learn from experiences of London and NY. I'll start with Michael Berkowitz - who will make a presentation - overview of 9/11
Michael Berkowitz: hello. My role here is two-fold. One is a very general overview of 9/11 - it was well covered years ago ...
second, from govt. perspective - I was deputy commissioner of emergency operation, NYC and I was working that morning in emergency center.
I have this title slide to remind ourselves - one of the lessons on 9/11 is how dense NY is. The picture is looking east with Brooklyn in the background. for some reference, if you follow my cursor, this was the Bank of New York - a major data center, which is an important part of business continuity story - this is Verison - their hub building for lower Manahattan. This is World financial centre, which was headquarters of Amex,
... and Merril Lynch - of course, the two trade centers - someone mentioned folks from the embassy who were at WTC. The city command centre was located in WTC 7, which collapsed around 5 o'clock, will cover some reasons - and that is city hall, which is so close to the WTC.
Michael Berkowitz: This is hundred chambers street, a major office building, centre of NY govt. only blocks away from this collapse. Right in here, is Wall Street and the NY Stock exchange. That's the kind of density we talk about with 9/11
Michael Berkowitz: We've re-oriented ourselves a bit, looking south to north - this is taken from an airplane two days later - you can see 1 & 2 world trade - the verison building, .. major destruction there. My current employer, Deutche Bank, had offices there. They had all 47 floors of that building.
Michael Berkowitz: Now, the yellow here represents buildings that were damaged in the collapse. This is the beginning of city hall here - these are two towers, 7 WTC , many many blocks away the damage that was caused - incredible infrastructure damage across a wide and dense area. Its hard to appreciate the complexity of who all there, why they need to be in there, importance of them being there, etc.
There are maps - this is power outtage, and this is water outtage - and this is 2 weeks later. Collapse crushed everything underneath including power lines, transformers, sub-stations, water mains which is why WTC7 caught on fire as part of the collapse and there was no water in the area - fire was allowed to burn and WTC 7 collapsed at 5 in the evening
Michael Berkowitz: This is important from a business continuity standpoint - 9 days after 9/11 and most of lower Manhattan without telephone services because Verizon building was hit ... this is a huge and incredible complex area where nearly 4 million people come to work everyday.
Much like Mumbai, NY is a peninsula - everything conregates in lower part of Manhattan - 4 major south-north arteries .. 2 of those 4 were completely destroyed by the collapse. In terms of getting business going again, that was a major consideration.
Michael Berkowitz: Most of NY travels by subway - these are the subway stations - the one near the WTC, completely destroyed,the path or commuter rail was destroyed as well. From a transportation infrastructure when you talk about recovery - major north-south automobile arteries disrupted - subway crushed, and commuter rail collapse - that complicates response.
Michael Berkowitz: Also remember, every day one of these blocks is evacuated, it is not in business. Its millions of dollars at stake, the livelihood of the people, the future of the city at stake every single day. Initially we did a large evacuation, pushing people way out - but quickly realized we need to allow people to get back to their daily lives, as part of their recovery while we clean up the site. That was a constant struggle of how do we balance needs of the site, safety of the people and we shrank as much as we could this site.
Michael Berkowitz: This is 23rd and you still see debris everywhere. This is just a few days. The debris management and recovery operation was primary as we began to shrink the site and get people back. That's an overview and I think it will help Emily and David talk about some of their issues from their perspective.Now I quickly provide you with 5 lessons learned from public sector. I talk about the public sector because this is a small part of what we came up with, or rather major themes.
Michael Berkowitz: I will say at Deutsche, right now, we have learned many of these lessons and we implement many things learned on 9/11 - i think they can be applied across pub. and pvt. sector.
After 9/11 we went back and started doing this planning in a broader, all-hazards way.
In business, your continuity and crisis management plan needs to be as broad as possible.
Lots of things you need to do, in a Mumbai example in the monsoons - need to know forecasts, need to know when the high-tides are, need to know areas prone to water-logging, etc., though I appreaciate that over here the forecast is not always pin-point accurate. You need to have real specific plans to deal with that - the best thing is to develop all-hazards reponse.
Michael Berkowitz: Second lesson is the need for standardized command and control. The federal govt. has the national NIMS - NY didn't have that before 9/11, but have that now - this is essential for all departments to have same command control.
Michael Berkowitz: Thirdly, lessons around risk communication. There are two states - one where people are very interested in emergency planning, security stuff, preparedness stuff - and they have one way of listening to you, and another - 6 months or a year from now, people will have gone about their daily lives and will have forgotten about this and there's another where you need to talk about emergency and security planning - those are 2 different ways and you need to be good at doing both, because in order to really prepare for disasters it has to be a sustained effort. Through times of intense scrutiny and times of less interest when you need to spur interest, something along the lines of precaution advocacy.
Michael Berkowitz: There's a very good risk communications expert in NY, Richard Sandman, we spent a lot of time in NY trying to learn those lessons. We did a very job of it following the collapse.
Mayor Guliani did a very good job at times, but said things like "There's nothing to fear about the air downtown, period.", which people thought was just too finite a statement and it didn't jive with the reality and what people were seeing down there and they didn't believe us. Once they don't believe you, you can almost never get that back.
Michael Berkowitz: Use your emergency management organization often. In Mumbai you have a phenomenal opportunity - if you create emergency capability here, you will get a chance to test it, and use it and see a return on investment time and again - you have so many opportunities in Mumbai - from strikes and bandhs, to monsoon flooding, to another terror attack - you will get to use this organization over and over.
Unilever - Deutsche Bank is right next to the Unilever building in Calcutta - there was a fire that affected their building and ours - but all our planning came in use - we got everyone together, etc. This returns our investment and builds on muscle memory.
Michael Berkowitz: So, last lesson is big disasters impact every nook and cranny of your society and organization. I ran the command center following 9/11 on occassion - at times there were 150 different organizations in the command center. It is phenomenal to see how broadly large disasters impact your organization. When you do planning, and response, you need to think about it in as broad a way as you can, because however broad you think, there will be things at the margins that you need to know that will affect you in a god or bad way depending on how you integrate them.
Emily - would you like to give a presentation ... ?
Emily Walker: Okay, I will walk through some of the issues we learned in the 9/11 commission. Basically coming up with something Mumbai can look at from lessons learned. The 9/11 investigation started 2 years after 9/11 - we didn't start to work till April 2004. The family members drove the investigation - it was a bipartisan effort, which meant no one was in control - it was an independent commission outside of the govt, funded by the Congress. The goal was to tell the story of the day - not to blame people. Though family members wanted people blamed. We wrote the commission report describing the facts of the day and citizens of US could decide for themselves who was to blame. This is very important because you can't get very far if everyone is finger-pointing.
Emily Walker: We did 2 years of fact-finding to come up with this historic document which you can buy at a store for a very small price. It is available to the entire population. We made recommendations but its taken years to put into place many recommendations we made. We had an independent panel, which was very important. This is not something a committee of say 60 people sitting around a table can do. We had very knowledgable staff, full-time professionals. We looked at 2.5 million documents. All of our sources are listed. Everything we did will eventually be completely open to the public, but what we did during the commission time, since much of this information is top-secret classification in the US govt. We had 12 public hearings, to which we invited all of the media. In one particular hearing, where Condoleezza Rice spoke, we had 20 million viewers from countries around the world. It was quite an open process with every senior cabinet member from Bush and Clinton administration.
Emily Walker: The commission at the end gave recommendations following the story. What was interesting about those recommendations, was process of making them. We wrote the story in June, the book was being published in July. We began talking about the recommendations. We didn't start with recommendations because we thought we knew how to fix it. We started with the facts of the day, which were drawn through an arduous process and then made recommendations. When commission was done the report was presented to the congress. The commissioners, the top 10 people running the commission, stayed on board for another year and followed implementation of these recommendations and graded themselves on how well they did in terms of getting the recommendations through.
Emily Walker: Next week in Washington National Archives will open to the public. I'm getting emails from 10 commissioners still following through on the recomendations we made. So you can see the process that we went through.
Emily Walker: Some lessons we learned which model what Richard said about 7/7 made me think - wait, we knew this stuff the first time around, we keep learning the same lessons. We couldn't communicate. People didn't practice evacuations. Employees had no idea where to go. Phone operators handling emergency calls didn't know what to say. We couldn't find employees and guests. No one knew who was in or out of the building.
Emily Walker: We had no corporate or communication leadership plans. People didn't kno who was in charge. This is in the pvt. sector companies in the WTC, not in the govt. Nobody knew where to go when they left the building. We had no link with first responders because people hadn't practiced. I interviewed most of the companies in WTC who were there that day and asked these questions - these were the answers - very similar situation in 7/7 in London and very similar situation here, 10 days ago.
Emily Walker: The companies in WTC had no backup sites. At Citigroup we had a backup site in New Jersey. Remember everything was connected, so that didn't really help us. We were managing 468 billion dollars of people's money and we had only paper copies of the investment instructions. The New York Stock Exchange did not open on 9/11 because it opens at 9:30am. It was closed for 3 days, the first time since Roosevelt closed it during the Depression. That was an enormous cost to businesses and to NY city. I did a calculation of loss of income to new york city from taxes if people aren't generating income, it was in the billions and we weren't sure we got the right number.
Emily Walker: The attack, while everyone thinks it was on the govt. of the US, the impact was actually on the buildings, the companies, businesses in the WTC. When we did the investigation, initially, no one wanted to cover the topic of impact on businesses. I was told, "Why would anyone want to know that?"...
Actually, the physical attack happened on businesses in the most vibrant city of the US. In the end, I had my way and we were able to do this study - we came up with a recommendation for Company Preparedness, an evacuation plan, etc. It is currently in legislation in the US - it is not a law, it is a recommendation - govt. is going to setup groups to certify whether a co. is prepared. This is happening in 2009 - the event happened in 2001 - 8 yrs. and we're getting to this point -
Emily Walker: The public-pvt. sector partnership interface, managing of plans, really should be mandatory from a corporate perspective. That's basically lessons learned from our 9/11 report.
Emily Walker: Whats important with continuity of business, etc. - preparedness is critical and role of CEO and chairman - got to be leadership from the top - business managers need to own the expenditure for continuity in their budget.. as a business person, i am responsible for expenditure on continuity .. there need to be plans, and they need to be practiced ..
We have one change in our panel. Mr. Oberoi could not come but Mr. Verma will take his place as executive Vice President of Oberoi Hotels. Would you like to share your experience of 26/7, what was authorities response, how could things be dealt with better?
Mr. Oberoi: I don't really have a presentation but I'll share what we experienced that night. The first part was the information sharing. I got a call from a colleague in the first 3-4 mins. after the attack and I believe - nobody could imagine - nobody was trained for something like this, either in hotel or outside. People initially thought it was a gang-war, two individuals firing at each other. There was immense shock, disbelief as to what was really happening.
Mr. Oberoi: As far as local authorities as concerned, i must admit they were definitely here in the first 9/10 minutes. The police was inside the hotel and trying to do whatever they could. They did not know the intensity of the attack and the weapons and explosives. They came in and gave the sense of support and started to flush out whoever they could and started securing the place.
Mr. Oberoi: Thereafter, as hotel management and the police, the first concern was to try and evacuate as many people as we could - both guests and staff - whoever could be taken out of public areas, whoever was hiding wherever they could, it was important to take them out. Take them where? There was panic - we thought lets at least take them out of the building. We were unsure where the people had infiltrated, what explosives they have, etc. The first reaction was to take them away form the building. We took all our guests, whoever we could round up - we held a lot of guests in this room, and then took them to a building a block away. There was immense team-work. Relocating guests to another hotel was of paramount importance, since we didn't want to leave guests staying in the hotel helpless.
Mr. Oberoi: We started working with other hotels. A partnership was built at that time, no one was talking about bills, commercials, etc. Everyone said just said send them to our hotels, even if we don't have space, we'll accomodate them. Shifting guests and staff to hospitals - at that point of time, we managed to evacuate a fair amount of people. Some were injured. I don't believe we had enough ambulances then. There was no choice but to flag down any taxi or car nearby, but made sure one of our representatives was there, take person to hospital, do documentation, inform relevant authorities / companies.
Mr. Oberoi: The agencies who were around, primarily local police and then marine commandos and NSG - we were working closely with them from outside the hotel since we couldn't enter. They needed lots of help from us,because they needed to understand the hotel terrain - the various guest rooms, how many guests there were - we were informing them with as much information as we had. We took their help in accessing the building, because for almost 60 hours our plant machinery was running so we were worried about other accidents, over-heating, etc. besides what was happening. Because of the fires due to the bomb attacks, our sprinklers were running constantly - good news is they put out fires, bad news that we were using a lot of water. That's how we managed to do a lot of work with the law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Oberoi: Small little things we saw in terms of communications - the helplessness when the mobile phone networks get jammed - its all we had and many a time the system got jammed and for crucial minutes you could not communicate .. and you run out of mobile battery because you communicate so much. Our friends in the next building - we were all using each other's batteries, and recharging what we could find to remain in touch with the guests in the hotel and with certain other authorities as well.
Mr. Oberoi: The support, besides law enforcement agencies - the ambulances, support from residents, was incredible - the people who came out and were supportive there and later was so huge. People coming from nowhere and supplying food to staff and guests - they were like angels at that point of time, because we had no access to resources to feed guests or staff who were stranded with us.
Mr. Oberoi: Thereafter, I can probably go on and on - some learnings that come out of this is somewhere we need to build a partnership between all corporates who reside in this area, Nariman Point,which is the financial sector hub - we need to work with each other and share intelligence should we have any so we are all prepared together. We need to share resources - we have Air India right here, for eg. we have started a discussion along these lines. If we could share our resources, if someone else is available, whether communication setup or other equipment, we need to work together with police and other agencies on how to create deterrence. To fight something like this, I don't believe we have the equipment or arms at this stage.
Mr. Oberoi: As we move ahead, we will need a lot of help from agencies to provide some security and also intelligence - if we know in advance certain deterrents can be setup, it would make a difference. Remote communications systems - everything fails over here, if we are sitting outside, how do we communicate with people inside. Remote building management systems. Besides enhancing security in the premises. That's just some things I wanted to share of experience first hand. In our opinion, the law enforcement was really good and they did their best at that point in time and helped immensely.
Mr. Oberoi: There's no doubt, there is a lot more to be done. They have also learnt from it. They have learnt immensely and I do hope we can put everything to action now.
Anil Dharker: Would like to put this question to Mr. Sukhtankar, Mr. Singh and Mr. Amit Chandra. We've been talking about a partnership between various sectors - how can it be taken forward in a practical sense? We don't want this to end today with just talk. Narendra made an important point that all the corporates from Nariman Pt. getting together, but as a wider plan, for the nation, how do we do this? what is required? who takes the lead?
I think in the various speeches since morning, one point which has come out clearly is that we ought to have a very clear and articulated policy and strategy to deal with terrorism and backed with adequate legislation. That is a lacunae that everyone has been feeling. The second point is that in the context of Mumbai city there doesn't seem to be the required clarity as to who really is in charge of the city.
D: And there is no clarity between state govt., local govt., municipal bodies, which need to deal with a lot of things- hospital services, ambulance services, water supply, various vital infrastructure installations which keep the city running. Perhaps in our situation, time has come to strengthen the role of local govt. in governance of the city. Today responsibility is diffused - state govt. is in charge of all cities in the State. The same situation prevails in Mumbai.
We ought to decide once and for all how we can make the local city govt. more accountable to the people with respect to how it deals with these incidents, whether natural disasters, or terror attacks. In what manner this can be done needs to be discussed. These are some over-arching questions we ought to debate.
D: Mr. Singh
Mr. Singh: I don't see anyone from the govt. on the panel. It seems the citizens of Mumbai were keen to help but the govt. doesn't seem so keen to take help. The Hon. Minister also mentioned there should have been some serving officer present. I will begin by saying that as far as Mumbai Police response is concerned, I am proud they responded very promptly. Many have laid down their lives in the line of duty, and if they hadn't, people would have taken to the streets, because people were fed up of incidents happening again and again and nothing concrete happening to prevent it.
If anything prevented that, it is the sacrifice of these officers - even in their death, they served a purpose. There is a problem of command and control and the police leadership will have to think about it - we often talk about Guliani of NY - he did marvelous work, but we forget that in '93 when this city was rocked with multiple explosions, there was that 'Guliani' in this city - it was Mr. Sharad Pawar, then CM of Maharashtra, who in a matter of minutes was in the midst of meetings with police, beaurocrats and within 48 hours had the city back to normal. I have seen him working so hard for days on end. This is something also - only we didn't record it.
About emergency response - who is in charge? In our disaster management plan, it is the CM who is supposed to be in charge and activate it - problem is we have all these things laid down, but there is so much confusion in times of crisis.
Anil Dharker: During 26/11, our CM was out of Bombay .. is there someone else who was supposed to take over?
Mr Singh: Deputy chief minister ... there is a need to sharpen our drill .. coming to business community role and citizen's role - must congratulate business community - the way help is pouring in - I attended two meetings called by IMC - Mr..?. said he would collect 100 crore rupees to help the govt. setup an anti-terror institute any other help from corporates will be forthcoming. So many people from business community have approached me offering help. In this, the govt. should mobilize and channel this support. I am reminded of year 2000 when there was a crisis - a lot of SMS messages were flying around saying something has happened in the city .. I simply phoned up the phone providers and told them they must shut their services till the evening and the situation passed peacefully.
Mr Singh: This incident which happened - this time only South Mumbai was affected, in '93 it was the entire city - in terms of infrastructure, I agree that our infrastructure is not adequate. Govt. needs to strengthen infrastructure - ambulance services, police vehicles, hospital services - in 93, 1000 people injured and hospitals were almost at breaking point.
Mr Singh: If there is need to evacuate people from one part of the city to another or if I need to send forces from island city to suburbs, I cannot do that - because the city has only 3 main roads - there has to be suitable capacity created in the suburbs - we did acquire some land in Santacruz east. govt. will have to think about strengthening capacity in suburbs. suburbs are sprawling. This has to be considered in terms of improving policing systems in the suburbs.
Mr Singh: When Nariman House was attacked, I was getting a lot of calls from friends who live in the area, Colaba, - someone was at dinner in the Express Tower - they called to ask me if they should leave the area. I told them I could not advice them, but the best is probably to remain inside the building.
Anil Dharker: Doesn't this show the breakdown of communication - we were all in the dark?
Mr. Singh: There are many ideas available - what is needed is the process of implementation gets done - the authorities must record this and preserve for posterity.
Anil Dharker: I'd like you to expand on role of corporate sector.
Mr. Chandra: In terms of role as citizens, it has shown us we cannot afford to be arm-chair critics. We need to be involved with equal intensity as we put into our corporate lives. I'll give you example of what a few of us did - as industry forums debated what could be done - what was agreed was serious lacunae with regards to police reform .. the city has seen 12-13 attacks in the past decade and if you listen to politician statements, you can't figure out which statement was for which attack, and the same statements were made after 26/11. We got really worried as to what's going to be different this time around? We all laud the fact that Mumbai moves on and that is going to work against us.
Mr. Chandra: So a few of us got together with society of Indian law firms and filed a PIL and asked about what they were doing about police modernization. We approached it with the same passion that we would approachany project in the corporate world. We had a landmark ruling from the High Court. The important thing is that this is creating the right amount of pressure, apart from the incident itself, within the govt. to pick up the issue of police modernization. There's been 127 Cr. sanctioned since then .. a lot more needs to be spent, in my opinion - now lots of people in the corp. world are engaged in this issue and will continue to press the govt to drive change when it comes to police modernization.
Mr. Chandra: There is another matter of police reforms which the corporate sector is pursuing to get them out of political influence. We need to get together the right critical mass of citizens, corporate leaders and we need to make sure this doesn't just become an outpouring without anything productive coming out of it - corporates can co-operate in many ways, but I don't think govt. agencies are equipped to absorb a lot of these things - can't fault them - a lot of ideas are being thrown at them .. we have Bombay Chamber in Bombay, CII as national - we need to organize and chose what they deliver to the govt. - and don't just offer help and turn away, but go after them in a concerted way.
Mr. Chandra: We found out when speaking to police, CCTV has played a key role in both New York and London preventing a lot of attacks. The comapny that has done a lot of CCTV in London is a Bombay-based co. and the CEO is sitting right here...