NSW entrepreneurs caught in Mumbai horror
Thursday, November 27, 2008/
A NSW trade delegation of 20 Australians including entrepreneurs, government and Austrade officials are trapped in Mumbai following terrorist attacks.
A NSW trade delegation of 20 Australians, including entrepreneurs, government and Austrade officials, are trapped in Mumbai following terrorist attacks. Earlier this morning there were fears for their safety as terrifying reports began to emerge from India’s commercial centre of people taken hostage in the city’s best hotels.
However Tim Harcourt, chief economist with Austrade, told SmartCompany this morning the 20 people in the delegation are all safe. “We are now just concerned about finding all other Australians and making sure they are safe,” he says. Apparently there are hundreds of Australians that need to be located.
Over 80 people have been killed and hundreds injured during the attacks, and over 60 people were taken hostage at the famous Taj Hotel. Terrorists from the group “Deccan Mujahedeen” used open gunfire and grenades to attack civilians in public spaces. The targets included the city’s best hotels, busy railway stations, police headquarters and cinemas.
The BBC quoted local media as reporting that the attackers were singling out British and American passport holders.
India is becoming an increasingly important trade partner for Australia, with exports growing at an average 29%, compared to China’s 23%. About 2000 Australian businesses export to India, bringing in $5 million in revenue – on par with Japan, Korea and China.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed at least two Australians have been hurt, while acting foreign minister Simon Crean has condemned the attacks.
“This is an appalling assault on the people and the stability and the democracy of India” that had come without warning, he says.
The Government says it is focusing on locating Australians and bringing them to safety.