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CNN Larry King Live

Terrorist Attacks in India

Aired November 26, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, breaking news -- terror attacks rip through the commercial center of India. Americans and other Westerners are the targets. Scores are dead. Hundreds are injured. Hostages are held at gunpoint. Hotels, a hospital and a train station all scenes of chaos and carnage. Mumbai -- a city under siege. Live reports and late-breaking developments right from the scene right now on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening.

This is not what we planned tonight.

Here's the latest from Mumbai. At least 87 people are dead in well-coordinated terror attacks at 10 locations in India's commercial capital. Teams of gunmen stormed those places with automatic weapons and grenades this morning. Two luxury hotels were among the targets.

Hostages are being held at both of those locations right now. Two hospitals and a train station were also hit. A hundred and eighty-five people have been injured and it's believed that Americans and other Westerners are being singled out.

According to reports, nine of the terrorists have been killed. The Indian military has responded, but the situation in Mumbai remains chaotic.

Let's first check in with Andrew Stevens.

He is in Mumbai. He's an anchor for CNN World News Asia.

What is the absolute latest -- Andrew?

All right. Andrew apparently has disconnected.

Let's check in with Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent.

What's, in all of this world picture, Christiane, what's the significance of this?

AMANPOUR: Well, Larry, this is deeply significant obviously, because it is such a complex and coordinated attack on multitudinous targets, multitudinous locations. Obviously, a large number of militants or terrorists who have taken part in this, and they have engaged the Indian forces, the police and security forces. It's not like they just put bombs somewhere and allowed them to go off and either they were suicide attackers who got killed, or they were able to remotely detonate their bombs.

What they've done is not just attack, take hostages, but engage also with the security forces.

So this really ratchets it up a very significant level. And it's been coming for about 20 years, these attacks. Small in the last couple of decades, but in the last 10 years or so, particularly since 9/11, there have been a number of very significant attacks blamed by the Indian forces on Islamic militants.

For instance, in 2006, a series of attacks around the country left 180 people dead. In 2001, an attack on the Indian parliament killed 12 people, but pitted Pakistan and India so very, very close to one of their wars.

This is very, very dangerous in this part of the world. It also comes at India's -- which Mumbai is India's not just gateway to the nation; it's its economic and financial hub and it's its cultural hub as well, having the Bollywood and the other film production studios there.

Nobody quite knows who it is and why they have done it. This is the thing that is very difficult and dangerous at the moment. This little known group, if it's true that they exist, have claimed responsibility, although that has not been confirmed, so-called Deccan Mujahedeen, and what is the motive? There has obviously for many, many years been a type of feelings by India that, say, 150 or so million Muslims who are in the minority are feeling sort of hard done by in terms of the Hindu majority. There are also complaints by Indian Muslims about the way Kashmir is progressing, that enclave, and that is a huge, huge flashpoint.

But what's really amazing is that often it's blamed on tensions with Pakistan. And yet, this comes at a time where the president of Pakistan has -- the new president -- has really made an unprecedented overture to India in terms of trying to warm up relations, trying to secure a lasting peace. And just today, Indian and Pakistani officials were having meetings, and they ended it with a joint declaration that they wanted to cooperate on ending terrorism and combating terrorism.

KING: Christiane, do you see any connection with the recent American elections and this?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's hard to tell. People would say that it takes a lot longer than a few weeks to plan something like this. It's difficult to tell. I'm sure there will be a huge amount of analysis in the upcoming days and weeks.

What is going to be vital is whatever information the Indian security forces can get from some of these terrorists, militants, who've apparently some may have been captured alive. Obviously, there apparently have been some who have been killed as well. All of this will provide some of those missing pieces of the puzzle. Who are these people? What is their motive? Just today, there is an interview with the U.S. Marine Corps commandant as basically saying that al Qaeda's focus now is Pakistan. There had been some thought that maybe al Qaeda was in the past trying to launch its attacks also in India, but the Indian secret services and the security services say that they don't have a presence there. But Pakistan is a very, very big worry. It's a failing state. Afghanistan is practically a failed state right now, even after the U.S. in 2001 sent al Qaeda and the Taliban packing. There's a very difficult and dangerous situation on this subcontinent that really has been the focus of a lot of attention right now, and indeed, the incoming president has said that he wants to step up the number of U.S. forces. U.S. commanders want more forces in that region as well, not just Afghanistan, but to cope with Pakistan as well. Larry.

KING: As you said, there have been a lot -- a lot of incidents since the year 2000 in India. Why is this one getting so much particular attention? There was one with over 200 deaths.

AMANPOUR: Well, about 180 in 2006. But those were sort of multiple bombings in trains and railway stations. But this is one night with, so far, according to our sources, at least 87 people killed, and it's a brazen attack on the most visible elements and symbols and structures of the economic, the cultural, the tourist, the international hub, as I said, the gateway to India -- which is the world's largest democracy -- which is not a failed state by any stretch of the imagination. Which has a unified political structure, which has an army and security forces. India is not Pakistan or Afghanistan, and yet this has been able to happen here.

And why is it getting so much attention? Because so many more people than ever before have been killed in one fell swoop, and it's ongoing, and these people launched pitched battles with the security forces, and they still have hostages, and it appears they deliberately targeted Westerners.

KING: Thank you, Christiane.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief investigative correspondent. We might well call on her again.

And we'll be right back with more of this ongoing story.

Don't go away.


KING: In a few minutes, we'll talk with Dr. Deepak Chopra, who was born in India.

We're also attempting to contact Andrew Stevens, our anchor with CNN World News Asia. He is in Mumbai and we've had a telephone breakdown.

Let's first check in with Yasmin Wong. Yasmin is in Mumbai. She's a Turner Broadcasting employee and was in The Taj Hotel when it was attacked. What happened?

What did you see, Yasmin?


Well, basically, I was in my room in the dark for, I don't know, six hours under my bed. We didn't really see very much. We basically just heard a lot of just gunfire and crackers and all sorts of things. And then, you know, toward the end of the six hours, I heard there was a fire on the fifth floor, which is above by room.

So that's basically what I heard for six hours.

KING: That is a luxury hotel, is it not?

WONG: That's right. It's a very iconic and very famous hotel in India, which is basically outside the gateway of India.

KING: How did you know to get under the bed?

WONG: Well, we had a lot of CNN security, actually, sort of -- sort of handling this and then calling us and texting us and walking us through what we needed to do. But, we basically were told to just turn the lights off and stay under the bed or be in the bathtub until we knew what the situa -- what was going on. Because, unfortunately, the hotel didn't really tell us what was going on. They called us once to, you know, for us to stay in the rooms.

So, in addition to that...

KING: Where are you...

WONG: ...they also turned off the TV, as well. So we had no television at all.

KING: Where are you right now?

WONG: I'm actually in an apartment -- in an apartment of a friend of mine in Mumbai. And they came to pick me up several blocks away from The Taj. So I'm just here waiting right now, basically, to see what, you know, what we need to do and how I'm going to leave Mumbai. But we have to basically stay indoors for now.

KING: You bet.

Thank you, Yasmin.

We'll check back with you.

Let's go to Dr. Deepak Chopra, the physician, philosopher. His new book is "Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment."

Where were you born in India, Deepak?

DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR: I was born in Delhi, but I have been in these hotels many, many times. I have stayed there, so I know the scene, I know the restaurants. I have been trying to get in touch with my friends and relatives, some of whom I have spoken to, some of whom I can't speak to. The lines are jammed. We're texting each other.

A friend of mine from Egypt was in the restaurant at the Taj hotel when the firing started and somehow she managed to avoid the fray, hid in a basement and is now holed up in a room which is right next to the Taj hotel and is waiting to be told what to do.

The situation is complex, Larry, because it could inflame to proportions that we cannot even imagine. It has to be contained. We now recognize that this is a global problem, with only a global effort can solve this.

And you know, one of the things that I think is happening is that these militant terrorist groups are actually terrified that Obama's gestures to the rest of the Muslim world may actually overturn the tables on them by alienating them from the rest of the Muslim world, so they're reacting to this.

You know, this is Obama's opportunity to actually harness the help of the Muslims.

You know, there's 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. That's 25 percent of the population of the world. It's the fastest growing religion in the world. We cannot, if we do not appease and actually recruit the help of this Muslim world, we're going to have a problem on our hands.

And we cannot go after the wrong people, as we did after 9/11, because then the whole collateral damage that occurs actually aggravates the situation.

In India, this is particularly inflammatory, because there's a rise of Hindu fundamentalism. We saw what that did in Gujarat, where, you know, Muslims were scorched and they were killed, and there was almost a genocide of the Muslims.

India has 150 million Muslims. That's more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. So this is an opportunity right now for India and Pakistan to recognize this is their common problem. It's not a Muslim problem right now; it's a global problem.

KING: Deepak?


KING: We'll be getting back to you. Don't leave us.


KING: One quick thing. When did Bombay become Mumbai?

CHOPRA: After the British left. Bombay was a British name, so the original name was Mumbai, and it was reclaimed. KING: They went back to their original name.

CHOPRA: Yes, yes. Mumbai -- Bombay is the Anglicized version of Mumbai.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back.

We'll check in with Andrew Stevens, finally, our anchor on the scene.

Don't go away.


KING: I'm told we can finally check in with Andrew Stevens, the anchor with CNN World News Asia, who is in Mumbai.

What time is it there now?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, it's just about quarter to eight in the morning. And I'm actually standing outside The Taj Mahal Palace here. And I can describe the scene for you.

There's about a dozen or so fire trucks. There's firemen in front of the building. There are some ladders on the building. There's some soldiers walking fairly casually, I would have to say, past the front entrance of this building. And if you go up six or seven stories to the roof, just in front of this towering dome, I can see flames and smoke still coming out of that roof at the hotel.

Now, the last information I've had, which was about 30 minutes ago, we were hearing, Larry -- and it's very hard to confirm this at the moment -- that there is still a live hostage situation in this hotel I'm looking at the moment. Reports are between seven and 15 hostages have been taken. Some of those are European and North American. We don't know the numbers.

But what we do know and what has been reported is that the gunmen, on entering this hotel, went into the lobby and rounded up the guests and demanded to see passports, looking particularly for U.S. and British passports.

Now, we understand that some of those have been taken hostage. But, like I said, Larry, we can't confirm any numbers at this stage.

KING: Andrew, how do you explain the apparent calmness now?

STEVENS: Well, it's very difficult. I was expecting to come down here and have a total lockdown. We've been able to drive our truck pretty much into the -- into the fore court version. I'm probably standing about 20 meters away from the front of the building now. There doesn't seem to be any security. There's no cordon. There's no one -- no one asked us what we were doing coming in here.

There's quite a crowd gathering behind me, sort of come down to see what's going on. I can't explain why there is this apparent lack of activity going on. And from the latest we've heard, there is still a situation here.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Andrew Stevens and others.

Don't go away.


KING: On the phone with us from Mumbai is Amit Varman. He was in South Mumbai, in the neighborhood of The Taj Hotel when the attacks occurred. He's blogged about his experience, by the way, at Indiauncut -- that's one word --

Where were you and what did you see?

AMIT VARMAN, HEARD VIOLENCE, RAN FOR COVER: Well, we had gone for dinner to just about 200 meters from The Taj. And we were just about to enter the restaurant when we heard gunshots and we saw people running toward us from that direction.

So we cued up into the restaurant and the guys there told us not to go out, it's probably just a police encounter, nothing more man that.

So we sat in the restaurant. We returned on the television and gradually, over an hour, we understood the events that were unfolding.

So what, initially, we thought was an encounter between a handful of cops and a handful of criminals -- suddenly we realized it was, you know, much, much, much bigger than that. And, you know, by the time of our response, we were all in a state of shock.

KING: Did you ever see the terrorists?

VARMAN: No, no. We weren't close enough to see the terrorists. But we took a room in the same hotel because the area was cordoned off and wasn't safe to go home. And from our window, we actually heard the (INAUDIBLE) of the six blasts at The Taj and obviously we saw it unfolding on television.

KING: Where are you now?

VARMAN: We are still in the same hotel. We are just about a couple meters away from The Taj.

KING: It's a terrible thing to live through.

Thanks, Amit.

Amit Varman.

Now let's go to New York and Zain Verjee.

Zain is the CNN State Department correspondent.

What are they saying?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, the State Department, Larry, is essentially condemning this attack and saying that it's monitoring the situation.

What we don't know and what they're trying to find out, Larry, is whether there are any American casualties -- any American deaths, injuries, any Americans being held hostage. They're trying to figure that out. They don't know.

Consulate officials are going through all the hospitals. They're combing them and trying to see if there are any American casualties.

It's a situation that's difficult. They haven't, in earlier hours, been able to go to the hotel sites and see what's going on. The situation has been in lockdown. Embassy officials have been telling everyone -- all U.S. citizens -- to just stay at home until further notice -- Larry.

KING: Any conjecture, Zain -- are there -- is there any conjecture as to who did this?

VERJEE: There is. And the fact of the matter is that it's too soon for us to really know. One -- one is Deccan Mujahedeen. They claimed responsibility in an e-mail. Nobody really knows who these guys are or how serious they are or who they may be affiliated with. It may be a new group. It may be an offshoot of an old group.

Earlier attacks in India have been carried out by a group called Indian Mujahedeen. These guys, experts say, are a lot more organized. They have the kind of operational capability to carry out attacks and coordinate attacks like this. So they say they're inspired by Al Qaeda.

U.S. officials have also, Larry, been pointing to Lashkar-e- Taiba, another group that operates in the Kashmir region and has links to Al Qaeda, as maybe being involved.

So lots of question marks.

KING: All right.

Zain, does Condoleezza Rice immediately get to meet with the presumed new secretary of State, Hillary Clinton?

VERJEE: Well, she said that she was going to speak to her and brief her privately about everything that she needs to. But what we are hearing about what Condoleezza Rice has been up to right now is that she just got off the phone with President-Elect Obama about the situation that's unfolding right now in Mumbai and promised, basically, to keep him informed about all sorts of developments.

So we also know that Secretary Rice has been reaching out to Indian officials, saying, look, the U.S. stands ready, we'll help you, whatever you need. The U.S. can do things like sending an international hostage negotiation team or special planes or forensic scientists.

But they can't really do anything until India says OK...

KING: Yes. Does...

VERJEE: ...we need your help, we'll accept your help.

And, by the way, Larry, Rice also has just briefed Bush -- or did a short while ago.


Does the State Department see this as a vastly global kind of thing, with the United States involved or do they see this as an interior India thing?

VERJEE: I think the correct way to look at it would essentially to be part of a much bigger puzzle. You know, everything that happens around the world today reaches further corners of the world than ever before. You want to look at this in relation to the global war on terror.

There are many people here in India, many Muslims that feel that the U.S.-led war on terror is really a war on Islam and a war on Muslims. And they don't like the U.S. strategic relationship with India.

India is a strong ally, a democratic country. The U.S. just signed a civilian nuclear agreement with India.

You need to look at this in light of a festering problem of Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. You look at this in the light of what's been going on in Afghanistan. Maybe some of these guys carrying out these attacks coordinated in that border region on Waziristan, you know, where Al Qaeda operatives and Taliban operatives are believed to be there.

So all experts are saying that this is a major, coordinated attack that has all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda. And nobody really knows. But there are so many layers here and so many players and so many question marks.

KING: Thanks, Zain.

VERJEE: But you'd want to look at this in an interrelated manner -- Larry.

KING: Zain Verjee, thanks so much.

Zain Verjee, the CNN State Department correspondent.

We'll check back in with Andrew Stevens.

We'll also check with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as well, and others, when we come back.

Don't go away.


KING: Let's check in with our own Sanjay Gupta. He is CNN's chief medical correspondent.

Were you born in India?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. No, Larry. I was born here, but I do travel back quite a bit and have a -- I have a lot of family in that area, as well.

KING: I'm told you've stayed at The Taj Hotel.

GUPTA: Yes, I have stayed at The Taj Hotel, pretty recently, in fact. And it's -- it's very disturbing to see these images up of, you know, the flames and everything that's going on inside the hotel. There's a picture of -- you know, it's a beautiful place. It's one of these grand hotels, Larry. It's a true five star hotel in the financial district of Bombay. Just across from that is the ocean, so the rooms have an ocean view. There's a gateway to India, which is one of the large monuments in Bombay, which is the largest city, by the way, in India, Mumbai. And this is a really, really beautiful place.

KING: All right. What...

GUPTA: Hard to imagine it.

KING: Did you notice what the security was like?

GUPTA: You know, it was interesting. What I always thought was interesting was when the cars pulled up into the front of the hotel, they would scan the car. They would use mirrors to look underneath the cars. But they really never checked people as they were coming into the hotel for -- for anything.

So I never remember going through metal detectors when I walked into the hotel. I -- from what I understand, the security was intermittently more stringent, intermittently more relaxed throughout, throughout time. But, you know, when I was there, it didn't seem particularly stringent.

I remember the time when I was there, there was -- cricket teams were both staying there. So it was very full. Some of the nicest restaurants in that part of the city were there, and this is a -- this is a hotel that is always, always packed.

KING: Mumbai, as physically injured and emotionally traumatized people because of these attacks, swarms of them, how prepared generally are hospitals in the city of the size -- about the same size as New York City by the way.

How prepared are hospitals and doctors to deal with this? How would New York deal with this?

GUPTA: Well, you have great hospitals in Mumbai, just like you do in New York City. They are -- because this is a big urban center, they are used to trauma. They are used to the type of trauma that you see associated with urban centers, like gunshot wounds, knifings, lots of car accidents.

Two things change the equation, though. One is pure volume. You start to get lots and lots of patients. For example, in -- at Bombay Hospital, you hear 120 people have been taken there.

Very few hospitals are capable of handling that kind of volume. We heard -- you know an anonymous source are telling us that one Japanese man had died there, nine Europeans were admitted, three of them are in critical condition. Volume can be a real problem.

The other issue is that some of the hospitals came under attack themselves. So you talk about the emotional liability of a lot of these people and it's -- scary. They don't know if they themselves are going to be attacked.

There is a restaurant behind the Taj Hotel as well, which is a -- it's a real hangout. It's called Leopold's. I spent a lot of time there. It's a lot -- where a lot of expats hang out. This is a place that came under fire as well.

See some of those images of blood on the floor here. This is where a lot of people congregate socially in this, in this particular area, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Sanjay, right on the scene for us.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent.

Now to the Pentagon and Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon correspondent. What's the latest United States intelligence? What do we know, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, tonight, it is all very disturbing. A senior U.S. official told me a few moments ago this is possibly the most highly coordinated attack they have seen in some time.

U.S. officials are saying the choice of target, the sophistication of the attack, is now leading them, in fact, to believe it's Islamic extremists that carried all of this out. Intelligence services are looking at this very disturbing development tonight of the specific targeting of U.S. and British citizens.

In this attack that was highly coordinated, well timed, who had the weapons? Who had the training, the coordination, the communication, the ability to recruit and carry this out without apparently the Indian government noticing?

And this other disturbing development, why, apparently, was security dropped or lowered around some of the hotel sites? That's something that is generally understood to have happened. So what the intelligence services are doing now, U.S., British, and Indian intelligence services, all talking to each other, tonight, here in the United States, already in the daylight hours in India, and throughout the weekend.

Our sources are saying -- I think Zain referred to this a little while ago. While the group Deccan Mujahedeen has publicly claimed responsibility, a lot of people in the U.S. government say they don't really know who that group is and they are looking at another group, a group that is called the Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the largest and most active Islamic organizations in South Asia.

They have already carried out attacks in India in the past. Their objective is to end Indian rule in Kashmir. But those -- think of those, Larry, all as sort of internal Indian attacks. Now this opens up a new front. Attacks in India, a close U.S. ally, against westerners.

It raises a lot of concerns about al Qaeda involvement, and the bottom line tonight, Larry, is the -- most disturbing thing, nobody really has any facts about what has happened here.

KING: Barbara, don't go away. I'm going to come right back to you.

We'll take a break and we'll be right back with Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon correspondent, on the scene in Washington and Virginia. Don't go away.


KING: Back with Barbara Starr.

Is the, is the transition team being kept posted on everything, Barbara?

STARR: Well, they are, Larry. And you know, that's the real ultimate irony in -- as my colleague Ed Henry has been talking about. They're being kept posted on it on a day where the last couple days when the Obama transition team was determined to focus on the economy, and of course, the new president-elect is finding out that world events will ultimately dictate his agenda, I suppose.

And just on the day when really we had set out here at CNN to report on the issue of him deciding to keep Robert Gates on as his secretary of defense. The Bush administration's secretary of defense will, by all accounts, stay and serve under Mr. Obama, at least for the first year of the Obama administration.

And what was the reasoning behind that? The reasoning was that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war on terror were very serious and needed the continuity of the man who'd already been serving, Mr. Gates.

And so that's how the day started out for me. I was set out to report on that very ironic issue that Gates, the Republican secretary of defense, would be staying on in this new Democratic administration so Mr. Obama could focus on the economy and not have to worry so much about national security.

KING: So...


KING: So Obama looks a little like a genius. He's got the man in place already.

STARR: Yes, you know, a lot of people are going to be saying that. You know, Mr. Gates, Dr. Gates is a very experienced operative, a former CIA chief.

KING: Yes.

STARR: He knows his intelligence counterparts around the world. He doesn't have to hit the ground running. He's already there.

And I can tell you late tonight, senior officials in the Pentagon who thought they were packing up and going home for Thanksgiving, senior officials in the intelligence community staying on the job throughout the weekend to talk to their counterparts in Indian...

KING: Yes.

STARR: ... about all of this.

KING: Thanks, Barbara. As usual right on top of things, Barbara Starr.

Let's check on the phone with Syed Kamall. He's the member of the European parliament. He and his colleagues had just had dinner at the Taj Hotel, left soon after, got a call from one, came back to the Taj. He's in Mumbai now.

What did you see, Syed?

SYED KAMALL, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER, ON THE SCENE IN MUMBAI: Well, I was very lucky. I mean I -- I just left the hotel when a colleague phoned me and said, where are you? And I told him I just left. He said don't come back now. There's a gunman who just come in and he's gone mad, and shooting around, and I just ran away. He said, whatever you do, don't come back.

So we took refuge in a restaurant. And we were told not to go on the streets because we weren't sure whether there weren't anyone on the streets, whether the gunmen were on the streets. We heard the petrol station, a gas station was blown up. We heard railroad stations blown up and so we were told to stay inside and clear the streets.

And then there were people coming in from off the streets, some of the (INAUDIBLE). One of our party came in and he said the gunmen had gone into the bar that he was in, started shooting, and he's run away and dived behind a car and he managed to make it out the gate.

And then we started to see the stories come from the local television stations telling us that our hotel has been (INAUDIBLE) under fire at our hotel. KING: Are all of your friends OK?

KAMALL: They are now. We lost contact with two of my -- two MEPs. And we were sending text messages to them. And one of them was barricaded in the basement of the hotel. The other was hiding in the kitchen. Another one, we could hardly speak to him because we could hear gunshots. And he ran out. He ran out.

KING: You're a member of the European parliament. So what do you think of this?

KAMALL: Well, I think the same as anyone else. It's clearly -- it's clearly -- there's absolute -- clearly there's (INAUDIBLE) to drive people away from Mumbai, to drive people away from coming here to visit (INAUDIBLE), to portray Mumbai in a very negative way, which we must not let that happen. We must stand shoulder to shoulder and make sure that we defeat terrorism.

KING: Thank you. Syed Kamall, on the scene in Mumbai. We'll be right back. Deepak Chopra will return. We'll have others as well on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Speaking of special editions, tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, there will be a special edition of this program in which we look at celebrities who are heroes. That will precede CNN's annual heroes program anchored by Anderson Cooper.

That's a night of heroes tomorrow night. We've had some heroes tonight, too. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Dr. Deepak Chopra, the physician, philosopher, spiritual adviser. His new book, by the way, it's terrific, "Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment."

Do you think that this is just the beginning, that there's a potential impact, or more?

CHOPRA: There is a potential impact of a lot more carnage. But it can be contained. And right now, one of the questions, you know, after I heard Barbara Starr talking about how coordinated this is, that there are militant groups that cross international boundaries, is who is financing this? Where is the money coming from? We have to ask very serious, honest questions. What role do we have in this? Are our petrodollars funding both sides of this war on terrorism? Why are we not asking the Saudis where that money is going that we give them? Is it going through this supply chain to Pakistan?

It's not enough for Pakistan to condemn it. Pakistan should cooperate with India in uprooting this. They should be part of the surgery that is going to happen.

It's not enough for Indians to blame Pakistanis. Indians should actually ask the Pakistanis to help them. And it's not enough for us to worry about Westerners being killed and Americans being killed. Every life that is -- is precious over there. We have got to get rid of this idea that this is an American problem or a Western problem. It's a global problem, and we need a global solution, and we need the help of all the Muslims, 25 percent of the world's population, to help us uproot this problem.

KING: What does India immediately do?

CHOPRA: India at this moment has to contain any reactive violence from the fundamentalist Hindus, which is very likely and possible. So India has to condemn that by not blaming local Muslims. They have to identify the exact groups.

And the world has to be very careful that they don't go after the wrong people. Because if you go after the wrong people, you convert moderates into extremists. It happens every time, and retribution against innocent people just because they have the same religion actually aggravates and perpetuates the problem.

KING: Are you pessimistic?

CHOPRA: I think Mr. Obama has a real opportunity here, but a challenging opportunity, a creative opportunity.

Get rid of the phrase "war on terrorism." Ask for a creative solution in which we all participate.

KING: Is it because the war on terrorism really can never be won because the terrorists (inaudible)?

CHOPRA: Because it's an oxymoron. It's an oxymoron, Larry, a war on war, a war on terrorism.

You know, terrorists call mechanized death from 35,000 feet above sea level with a press of a button also terror. We don't call it that, because our soldiers are wearing uniforms. They don't see what is happening, and innocent people are being killed. So, you know, terror is a term that you apply to the other.

KING: Thanks, Deepak Chopra, as always, extraordinarily enlightening.

We'll be back with more on this horrendous day. Don't go away.


KING: Erica Hill will be hosting "AC 360" at the top of the hour.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, thanks.

We're going to continue to bring you the latest tonight on "360," covering this breaking news out of Mumbai where hours ago terrorists launched a brazen attack, apparently targeting Americans and other westerners. We will have the latest details for you on the investigation. Also on U.S. intelligence and just what President-elect Barack Obama is saying about it. All of that coming up at "360" right here at the top of the hour. Larry?

KING: Thanks, Erica. That's Erica Hill, 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

Let's go to New York. Paul Cruickshank stands by. He's an investigative journalist and terrorism expert. He's done extensive reporting on al Qaeda and its affiliates. He's a fellow at the NYU Center for Law and Security.

What do you make of this, Paul?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, Larry, you know, everything we're hearing suggests that this is the work of an established militant group. Deccan Mujahedeen, which is claiming responsibility, is not an established militant group.

Now suspicion tonight falls, I think, on two groups. One of which is Indian and one of which is Pakistani. The Indian group is Indian Mujahedeen, which is a group which emerged about a year ago. It's launched a number of attacks across India in the last year.

It said that it's not going to stop its attacks until India decouples itself from its strategic alliance with the United States. We've seen the sorts of people they're trying to target tonight, British and American citizens.

The other group that they suspected, perhaps, of being involved in these attacked is they the other group is Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is a Pakistani-Kashmiri militant group with very, very close ties to al Qaeda. A lot of its leaders fought with bin Laden in 1980s and Afghanistan and over the last few years has become more and more close to al Qaeda, it's fought more and more into it a global jihad.

KING: Are these groups going to be tough to tackle?

CRUICKSHANK: I think they're going to be very tough to tackle. Violence is still spiraling in India. There have been hundreds of people who have been killed in India over the last year. It's a real concern to Indian officials that this group, Indian Mujahedeen, has increasingly boarding to bin Laden's global a jihad.

There's always concerns as well the Pakistani groups they want to target India. Lashkar-e-Taiba has targeted India a number of times before. For example, in 2006 it's suspected of involvement in an attack on a commuter train system in Bombay and there is also suspicion that they might have cooperated with this Indian group, Indian -- the Indian group.

KING: Thanks, Paul. We'll be calling on you again.

Now to stay in New York and talk to Micah Garen, a documentary film maker who was kidnapped, held hostage in Iraq for 10 days in August of 2004.

What might you imagine these hostages are going through, Micah?

MICAH GAREN, HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAQ, 2004: Well, Larry, it's definitely a very, very disturbing situation. The terrorists have shown that they're willing to kill and so for anyone who is held hostage and, again, that situation is unfolding so it's hard to know what exactly is going on, but for the people who are being held, it's -- very grim for them I'm sure.

In my situation there wasn't outward violence when I was taken but here they've probably seen people killed in front of them and I think, you know, what's going through their mind is how they can get out of this situation immediately. But it's just very difficult to tell at this stage what's going on.

KING: When do we hear if -- educated guess -- demands? What do they want?

GAREN: Again, that's a very difficult thing to know. I mean looking at the outcome of what happened today I would say that, you know, it's anyone's guess what their demands are. It's very clear that they're trying to inflict maximum pain and injury and hostage taking is a very good way of doing that as people found out over the last few years and, unfortunately, it's on the rise all over the world.

And I think this took a lot of people by surprise in India and we can only hope that the situation will be resolved peacefully.

KING: Do you fear they might kill some of them since they've killed already?

GAREN: You know, I can't speculate. In a hostage situation a lot of times it comes down to the exact people who are holding you at that time and there's very good negotiators who can step in who may even know the individuals who are holding the hostages and be able to defuse the situation.

So, I think, at this point, it's too early to say. But you know, as with all hostage situations, I'm -- hoping for a good outcome.

KING: Thanks, Micah. Micah Garen.

When we come back, Don Clark, the retired FBI special agent in charge of Houston, his assignment areas included counterterrorism. Don't go away.


KING: Before we check in with Don Clark, let's check in at the Taj Hotel in India. To George Koshy. George is a CNN-IBN correspondent. IBN is the Indian Broadcasting Network.

You've been seeing there shots all day long.

What's the latest there, George?

GEORGE KOSHY, MUMBAI SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN-IBN: Hi, Larry. The situation here has already (INAUDIBLE), yet the Taj Mahal Hotel, the landmark ballroom right here is filled (INAUDIBLE). It is reportedly believed that there are about five hostages still there and also the same case with the Oberoi Hotel where -- on the 19th floor, there are a few hostages that are still here by (INAUDIBLE).

So this is the situation that has unfolded since 10:00 p.m. yesterday night Indian time. Several incidents, almost 10 incidents reported throughout Mumbai. 78 people dead so far and 116 people injured which also includes five senior political officer of the Mumbai police force.

So these are unfortunate incidents that are, Larry, being unfolding all through the night yesterday and still is on at this point in time.

KING: Thanks, George. George Koshy at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai.

Now let's go to Houston and Don Clark, the retired FBI special agent-in-charge.

Now the FBI can't get involved in this, right?

DON CLARK, FMR. FBI AGENT-IN-CHARGE: Well, yes. They will be involved in this, Larry, as well as other individuals...

KING: How?

CLARK: ... and law enforcement agencies and homeland security because they can be used as advisers. They have good negotiating skills, hostage negotiations. That's a key part right now, because I'm listening to your program here and all of their number of people that we think are being held hostage over there and there's got to be some effort to get them out.

So that's what an organization like the FBI and the rest of the homeland security agencies can help do.

KING: Don, when do you expect to hear demands?

CLARK: You know, that's shocking, and it just depends on how organized that this particular group may be. I suspect, though, is that if there really are legitimate -- what they would term as legitimate demands, you're going to have to hear something within the next few hours or so because there's been a number of hours it's going on.

Because the longer that they don't say anything then that means that the organizations have an opportunity to develop whatever they can to try and put this thing to bed.

KING: Would it help to know who the group is?

CLARK: Absolutely. They've got to try to find out who the group is and we've been -- there's been a lot of speculation as to who they may be but, also, there are not going to be many law enforcement or intelligence people going to enjoy Thanksgiving in that sense tomorrow because they're going to have to try to contact as many sources as they know and there are sources all around the world to include in this country that I suspect that the agencies will be trying to contact to see who's behind this real treacherous attack.

KING: Don, how hard is it to deal with employing counterterrorism?

CLARK: It's a difficult task but it's not a -- by no means an impossible task. What it means is it's cooperation and recognizing that you -- when you are invited into another country that you're simply a guest there and the rules are not ours to make anymore.

We have to go by the rules of that country and work with them so as long as you can understand that relationship, I believe that they'll be welcome whenever they are asked to come in to help particularly with the negotiation aspect and I think that they can get some things accomplished.

KING: Thanks, Don. Don Clark, a retired FBI special agent.

One quick, closing word with Deepak Chopra.

Deepak, are you optimistic that the Indian government will be successful with this?

CHOPRA: I think so but they have to change their attitude. They cannot blame Pakistan. They should ask Pakistan's help. In turn Pakistan should stop just condemning this. They should say what are we going to do?

We should be asking the Saudis what they're going to do about it. And we should all be asking the moderate Muslims. If you are still moderate, stop condemning this but do something about this cancer in your own family.

KING: And do you expect Barack Obama to have something to do with this or not?

CHOPRA: I think, you know, the terrorists are actually petrified of Barack Obama because he might overturn the tables on them by harnessing the sympathy of the Muslim world which does not like this.

KING: Thank you, Deepak. Deepak Chopra.

We've been on top of this scene with this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We have continuing coverage, of course. Hosting "AC 360" here's Erica Hill.