VIF News Digest: National Security - Defence Studies & Terrorism, 01-15 April 2021
Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF

DEFENCE

  • CDS General Bipin Rawat operationalises Joint Logistics Node in Mumbai.
  • Indian Army to participate in multinational exercise in Bangladesh: Exercise Shantir Ogroshena-2021.
  • DRDO develops Advanced Chaff Technology.
  • Indian Navy Ships and Aircraft to participate in exercise La Perouse.
  • Kazakhstan Defence Minister visits India for bilateral talks.
  • 2nd India – Vietnam Maritime Security Dialogue.
  • General MM Naravane, COAS proceeds on visit to Bangladesh.
  • Passage of USS John Paul Jones through India’s EEZ.
  • 11th Round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting.
  • Air Force Commanders’ Conference Apr 2021.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Yemen
  • Houthis are working with al-Qaeda and Islamic State, claimed Yemeni government.
Africa
Nigeria
  • Nigerian Army killed 11 Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.
Somalia
  • al-Shabaab issued warning against AstraZeneca vaccine.
Afghanistan
  • Afghan security forces eliminated 35 Taliban terrorists in Faryab and Baghlan provinces.
  • At least five civilians were killed in a roadside explosion in Helmand province.
  • Pentagon condemned Taliban’s attack on Kandahar airfield.
Pakistan
  • At least 12 people were injured in an explosion during football match in Baluchistan.
  • Security forces eliminated a TTP terrorist in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka proscribed 11 Islamic extremist organisations, including al-Qaeda and IS.
Bangladesh
  • RAB arrested radical Islamic preacher from Mymensingh division.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • Security forces arrested IS-JK commander from Jammu-Srinagar Highway.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • NIA raided 31 locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in Munchingput Maoist case.
  • 23 security personnel attained Veergati in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh.
Khalistan-inspired Extremism
  • NIA filed charge-sheet against three narco-traffickers in KLF narco-terror case.
Islamic Extremism
  • Special NIA Court sentenced ABT terrorist to 07 years’ imprisonment in 2018 ABT case.
  • NIA filed charge-sheet against two IS sympathisers in 2020 Bengaluru case.

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

  • MeitY trained over 4000 officials in cyber safety.
Defence
CDS General Bipin Rawat operationalises Joint Logistics Node in Mumbai

The 3rd Joint Logistics Node (JLN) in Mumbai was operationalized through video conferencing from New Delhi on April 01, 2021. These JLNs will provide integrated logistics cover to the Armed Forces for their small arms ammunition, rations, fuel, general stores, civil hired transport, aviation clothing, spares and also engineering support in an effort to synergise their operational efforts. Speaking on the occasion, General Bipin Rawat said, “Establishment and operationalisation of JLNs is a very important first step in the direction of logistics integration of our three Services. The Joint Operations Division (JOD) under the aegis of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQ IDS) enabled establishment of the JLNs as the first concrete step towards logistics integration of the Tri-Service. Government Sanction Letter for establishment of JLNs in Mumbai, Guwahati and Port Blair was signed on October 12, 2020. The JLNs in Guwahati and Tri-Services, Andaman and Nicobar Command, Port Blair were operationalised on January 01, 2021.

Indian Army to participate in multinational exercise in Bangladesh: Exercise Shantir Ogroshena-2021

Multinational Military Exercise SHANTIR OGROSHENA 2021 (Front Runner of the Peace) was held in Bangladesh to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangladesh ‘Father of the Nation’ Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and mark glorious 50 years of liberation. Indian Army contingent comprising of 30 personnel including Officers, JCOs and Jawans of a Battalion participated in the exercise along with contingent of Royal Bhutan Army, Sri Lankan Army and Bangladesh Army from 04 Apr to 12 Apr 2021. The theme of the exercise was “Robust Peace Keeping Operations”. Military observers from USA, UK, Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore were also be in attendance throughout the exercise.

DRDO develops Advanced Chaff Technology

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard the naval ships against missile attack. Defence Laboratory Jodhpur (DLJ), a DRDO laboratory, has indigenously developed three variants of this critical technology namely Short Range Chaff Rocket (SRCR), Medium Range Chaff Rocket (MRCR) and Long Range Chaff Rocket (LRCR) meeting Indian Navy’s qualitative requirements. The successful development of Advanced Chaff Technology by DLJ is another step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. The Indian Navy conducted trials of all three variants in the Arabian Sea on Indian Naval Ship and found the performance satisfactory.

Indian Navy Ships and Aircraft to participate in exercise La Perouse

Indian Navy Ships INS Satpura and INS Kiltan alongwith P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft participated, for the first time; in multi-lateral maritime exercise La Pérouse, being conducted in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region from 05 to 07 Apr 2021. The Indian Navy ships and aircraft will exercise at sea with ships and aircraft of French Navy (FN), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and United States Navy (USN) during the three day exercise at sea.

Kazakhstan Defence Minister visits India for bilateral talks

Minister of Defence of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev was on an official visit to India from April 7-10, 2021. The General held a bilateral meeting with Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on April 09, 2021. The Defence Minister of Kazakhstan thanked Raksha Mantri for the opportunity given to the Kazakh troops for deployment as part of the Indian battalion in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Both Ministers also positively assessed the annual KAZIND Exercise. This was the first meeting after Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev was re-appointed as Defence Minister of Kazakhstan. The two Ministers had last met in Moscow on September 05, 2020 on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting. The Kazakh Defence Minister is in India on the invitation of Raksha Mantri.

2nd India – Vietnam Maritime Security Dialogue
India and Vietnam held their second maritime security dialogue in a virtual format on 06 April 2021. The consultations involved exchanges on developments in the domain of maritime security, regional cooperation activities and opportunities for cooperation between the two countries.

General MM Naravane, COAS proceeds on visit to Bangladesh

General MM Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff was on a visit to Bangladesh from 08 to 12 April 2021. General Naravane's visit was in the midst of Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations which mark 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh.
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Passage of USS John Paul Jones through India's EEZ

The Government of India’s stated position on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is that the Convention does not authorise other States to carry out in the Exclusive Economic Zone and on the continental shelf, military exercises or manoeuvres, in particular those involving the use of weapons or explosives, without the consent of the coastal state.

The USS John Paul Jones was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits. We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the Government of U.S.A through diplomatic channels.
Reference:Passage of USS John Paul Jones through India's EEZ (mea.gov.in)

11th Round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting

The 11th round India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on 09 April 2021. The two sides had a detailed exchange of views for the resolution of the remaining issues related to disengagement along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. The two sides agreed on the need to resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner in accordance with the existing agreements and protocols. In this context it was highlighted also that completion of disengagement in other areas would pave the way for two sides to consider de-escalation of forces and ensure full restoration of peace and tranquillity and enable progress in bilateral relations. The two sides agreed that it was important to take guidance from the consensus of their leaders, continue their communication and dialogue and work towards a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. They also agreed to jointly maintain stability on the ground, avoid any new incidents and jointly maintain peace in the border areas.
Reference:11th Round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting (mea.gov.in)

Air Force Commanders’ Conference Apr 2021

The first bi-annual IAF Commanders' Conference for the year 2021 was inaugurated by the Raksha Mantri on 15 Apr 21 at Air Headquarters. During his address the Raksha Mantri congratulated IAF for ensuring a timely and befitting response to the sudden developments in Eastern Ladakh. He advised the Commanders to draw up long term plans and strategies for capability enhancement to counter future threats. He appreciated the critical focus of IAF towards reorienting for the future.

Referring to changing international geopolitics, he observed that the perceptible shift of focus from Trans-Atlantic to Trans-Pacific has become more obvious in the recent past. Changing dimensions of war would now include advanced technologies, asymmetric capabilities and info-dominance, and it was very important that the IAF’s preparations for the future must include these aspects. In his closing remarks, the RM assured the AF Commanders of the wholehearted support from the Ministry of Defence in achieving the goal of being a potent Strategic Aerospace Force.
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INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Yemen
Houthis are working with al-Qaeda and Islamic State, claimed Yemeni government

The Yemeni government had submitted a memorandum to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), informing that the Houthis are working “closely” with al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS). The report also stated that the Houthi militias have freed at least 252 al-Qaeda prisoners, including a key conspirator behind the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.
For more information: Click here to read...

Africa
Nigeria
Nigerian Army killed 11 Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State

On 05 April, Nigerian army eliminated 11 Boko Haram terrorists in a counter-terrorism (CT) operation in the Gwoza local government area of Borno State in Nigeria. In operation, several terrorists were wounded. Post-operation, army recovered weapons, motorcycles, and ammunition from the site.
According to the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, violence by Boko Haram has affected around 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others.
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Somalia
Al-Shabaab issued warning against AstraZeneca vaccine

In a statement released on 30 March, al-Shabaab terrorist group warned Somalis against administering AstraZeneca vaccine citing it as “deadly and unsafe”. The statement linked several other statements by European countries on rejecting AstraZeneca due to its side-effects.
“Do now allow your children and family members to be used as guinea pigs in the race to develop a potent vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic. Do not allow your family to be used as subjects in the experimentation of the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a time when a countless number of people have died, and hundreds of others have developed severe adverse reactions, including the formation of blood clots, as a result of administering the vaccine,” read the statement.
For more information: Click here to read...

Afghanistan
Afghan security forces eliminated 35 Taliban terrorists in Faryab and Baghlan provinces

In a statement released on 03 April, the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence (MoD) informed that in two separate operations, Afghanistan security forces eliminated at least 35 Taliban terrorists in Faryab and Baghlan provinces. At least 26 Taliban terrorists were killed, and 33 others wounded after the Afghan Air Force (AAF) carried out airstrikes on Taliban position in Sarchakan village of Gurziwan district in Faryab province. In another operation, nine Taliban terrorists were eliminated after the Afghan National Army (ANA) carried out counter-terrorism (CT) operation in Dand-e-Shahabuddin locality in Baghlan province.
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At least five civilians were killed in a roadside explosion in Helmand province

On 02 April, at least five civilians were killed, and seven others wounded in a roadside explosion near Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. No terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
For more information: Click here to read...

Pentagon condemned Taliban’s attack on Kandahar airfield

While addressing the Press on 07 April, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has said that the “United States condemned Taliban’s attack on Kandahar airfield which is home to several hundred US and coalition forces troops.” The attack did not cause any casualties, however it highlighted Taliban’s decision to provoke extreme violence against US interests despite ongoing ‘so-called’ peace process.
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Pakistan
At least 12 people were injured in an explosion during football match in Baluchistan

On 13 April, an explosion took place during a football match in Allahabad town in Hub (industrial centre) in Baluchistan province. At least 12 people were injured in the blast caused by the locally-manufactured IED (Improvised Explosive Device). The Hub town connects Karachi to Baluchistan. Baluchistan-based terrorists have been carried out terrorist attacks on police and security forces, including labour workforce from outside the province to work on the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in different part of province.
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information: Click here to read...

Security forces eliminated a TTP terrorist in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In a counter-terrorism operation on 05 April, security forces killed an unidentified Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist in Boya area of North Waziristan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
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Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka proscribed 11 Islamic extremist organisations, including al-Qaeda and IS

On 07 April, Sri Lankan government banned 11 Islamic extremist/terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS). In a statement released from the office of Attorney-General Dappula de Livera, 09 local Islamic extremist groups alongside al-Qaeda and IS are proscribed and the proscription will come into force with a Gazette to be issued soon.
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Bangladesh
RAB arrested radical Islamic preacher from Mymensingh division

On 07 April, Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Rafiqul Islam Madani aka ‘shishubokta or child preacher’—a radical Islamic preacher of the Hefazat-e-Islam group in Bangladesh, from Purbatola area in Netrokona district in Mymensingh division in northern Bangladesh. Madani (28 years-old) has been charged under the Digital Security Act for making anti-State, provocative, arrogant remarks with further intentions to create chaos.
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DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
Security forces arrested IS-JK commander from Jammu-Srinagar Highway

On 04 April, the Special Operation Group (SOG) and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police personnel averted a major terrorist attack with the arrest of commander of Islamic State-Jammu & Kashmir (IS-JK)—Malik Umair aka Abdullah, from Jhajjar Kotli on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. A pistol, eight rounds, and ₹ 1.13 lakh were recovered from Malik Umair’s possession.
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Left-Wing Extremism
NIA raided 31 locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in Munchingput Maoist case

On 31 March, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at 31 locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the case related to the activities of the proscribed Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist) in Andhra Pradesh in the guise of frontal organisations. The case relates to the recovery of literature of CPI (Maoist), press notes, medicines, wire bundles and explosives substances from the accused Pangi Naganna , who was intercepted by Munchingput Police, District Visakhapatnam Rural, Andhra Pradesh during vehicle checking in November 2020.
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23 security force personnel attained Veergati in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh

On 03 April, 23 security force personnel attained Veergati, and 33 others were injured in the gun-battle with Maoists in the jungles of Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh. The attack was carried out by over 400 Maoists from three different sides. The gun-battle stretched over 2 km near Tekulguda village. Some of the soldiers carried their injured buddies into the Tekulguda village where Maoists trapped and attacked them with daggers.
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Khalistan-inspired Extremism
NIA filed charge-sheet against three narco-traffickers in KLF narco-terror case

On 08 April, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a supplementary charge-sheet in the NIA Special Court in Mohali in connection to Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) narco-terror case. The accused in charge-sheet were identified as Rajendra Singh aka Ganja, Parminder Pal Singh aka Bobby, and Jasmeet Singh Hakimzada. The case was registered on 31 May 2020 under Sections 21 and 29 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and Section 17 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA (P)A].
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Islamic Extremism
Special NIA Court sentenced ABT terrorist to 07 years’ imprisonment in 2018 ABT case

On 08 April, the Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court-Kolkata, sentenced Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) terrorist—Rizual Islam aka Riyaz aka Sumon in a 2018 ABT case under Sections 120-B, 121-A, 125, 468, 471 of Indian Penal Code, Sections 18 and 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], Section 14 of Foreigners Act 1946. The Special NIA Court sentenced Rizual Islam to seven years of rigorous imprisonment and fine of ₹ 36,000.
The investigation had revealed that in ABT members of Bangladesh origin had entered India in 2016 and were conspiring to commit terrorist acts. Rizual had travelled and stayed at Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai in the guise of labourers. Rizual had tried to procure chemicals from a shop in Patna and planned to establish hide-outs in Ranchi. Along with other ABT members, Rizual aimed to procure arms and ammunition in Kolkata. Several incriminating materials like map of Sealdah Railway Station, Howrah Bridge, literature on explosives and bomb-making, fake Aadhaar Card, fake PAN Card were seized from the possession of the accused in the case.
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NIA filed charge-sheet against two IS sympathisers in 2020 Bengaluru case

On 01 April, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed charge-sheet against two Islamic State (IS) sympathisers—Ahamed Abdul Cader and Irfan Nasir under Sections 120-B, 125 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 17, 18, and 18-B of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A] at NIA Special Court in Bengaluru. Ahamed and Irfan were sympathisers of IS which identified impressionable Muslim youth and further motivated, radicalised them and also provided funds for their visit to Syria to further the ideology and activities of the organisation.
The charge-sheet also revealed that Ahamed Cader, Irfan Nasir and some of other IS sympathisers who are members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), had formed a group namely ‘Quran Circle’ to further their IS related activities. On the basis of the forensic investigation of the digital devices seized during the search and analysis of funds raised and provided by the members of ‘Quran Circle’, roles of various accused/suspects located abroad and in India, has emerged which is under investigation in the case.
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CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

MeitY trained over 4000 officials in cyber safety

In last three months (Jan-Mar 2021), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) virtually trained over 4000 government officials in cyber safety programmes. The programme was divided in two sections—i) one-day basic training to avoid incidents of ‘cyber breaches and digital sanitisation’, ii) a five-day programme consists of technical advancement of the previous programme.
The discovery of critical vulnerabilities in several government information system servers, which could have given attackers access to sensitive networks, underscores the need for the country’s digital infrastructure to be made more secure.
For more information: Click here to read...

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