VIF News Digest: National Security - Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-30 September 2022
Anurag Sharma, Senior Research Associate, VIF
DEFENCE
  • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh visit to Egypt.
  • MOD signs a deal for dual role Surface-to-Surface BrahMos missile with BAPL.
  • Mehar Baba Competition –II.
  • Preparations for Def-Expo 2022.
  • Participation in Combined Maritime Forces Exercise.
  • INS Tarkash at Port Gentil, Gabon.
  • 5thAnnual Session of Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).
  • Successful Flight Tests of Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS) Missile by DRDO.
  • Multinational Maritime Exercise Kakadu 2022.
  • Government appoints Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
  • Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Indian Navy visited Australia.
  • Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy Cruise Training Task Group arrived in Chennai on a three-day visit.
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
Africa
Somalia
  • At least 27 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in a US airstrike in the Hiran region of Somalia.
Burkina Faso
  • Islamist terrorists attacked an aid convoy in the northern province of Soum.
Nigeria
  • Security forces killed 07 Boko Haram terrorists in a CT operation in Borno State.
Afghanistan
  • The US raised terrorism concerns in Afghanistan and is ready to engage “pragmatically” with the Taliban.
  • Three people were killed and many injured in an explosion in Kabul.
  • At least 07 people were killed in a blast near Mosque in Kabul.
DOMESTIC TERRORISM
Jammu and Kashmir
  • Security forces eliminated three JeM terrorists in Kulgam.
  • SIA filed a chargesheet against three accused, including a former minister, in a terror-funding case.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • Security forces arrested a ‘most-wanted’ Maoist from Maharashtra.
  • Around 700 Maoist supporters surrendered before Odisha police and BSF.
Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
  • NIA searched several locations across India and arrested PFI leaders and members concerning the registered case.
  • “PFI members have connections with SIMI and Indian Mujahideen”, claimed NIA.
Khalistan-inspired Extremism
  • NIA filed suppl. Chargesheet in a “conspiracy of targeted killing by KTF” case.
  • India raised concerns over the ‘Khalistan Referendum’ and pressed Canada for action against the same.
Narcotics Trafficking
  • NIA arrested 26th accused in Heroin seizure case at Mundra Port.
DEFENCE
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh visited Egypt from September 19-20, 2022

Raksha Mantri (RM) was on an official visit to Egypt from September 19-20, 2022. RM called on President of Egypt Mr Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo. President El-Sisi expressed appreciation that military-to-military cooperation between both the countries has reached a new level and that signing of MoU on defence cooperation is a major achievement. Both leaders agreed to further develop military cooperation and focus on joint training, defence coproduction and maintenance of equipment.

RM also held bilateral talks with Egyptian Defence Minister General Mohamed Zaki in Cairo on September 19, 2022. During the meeting, both sides discussed steps to strengthen defence ties and reached a consensus to enhance conduct of joint exercises and exchange of personnel for training, especially in the field of counter-insurgency. Signing of MoU by the two Defence Ministers on cooperation in the field of defence was a milestone event during the visit, which will pave the way for enhancing defence cooperation across all sectors of mutual interest. The RM also invited his Egyptian counterpart to the India-Africa Defence Dialogue and IOR Defence Ministers’ Conclave, scheduled to be held as part of 12th DefExpo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from October 18-22, 2022. Click here to read...

MOD signs a deal for dual role Surface-to-Surface BrahMos missile with BAPL.

Providing further impetus to Aatmanirbharta in defence production, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) signed a contract with M/s BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. (BAPL) for acquisition of additional dual-role capable Surface to Surface BrahMos missiles at an overall approximate cost of ₹ 1700 Crore under “Buy-Indian” Category. Induction of these dual-role capable Missiles is going to significantly enhance the operational capability of Indian Navy (IN) fleet assets.

BAPL is a Joint Venture (JV) between India and Russia making crucial contribution to augment the new generation Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSMs) with enhanced range and dual role capability for land as well as anti-ship attacks. Click here to read...

Mehar Baba Competition –II

To provide a boost to the growing indigenous drone industry, RM had launched the "MEHAR BABA COMPETITION-II". The competition is aimed at developing technology for a "Swarm Drone Based System to Detect Foreign Objects on Aircraft Operating Surfaces". The competition is named after the legendary Air Commodore Mehar Singh, MVC, DSO - affectionately also known as Mehar Baba. The first edition of the competition was launched in October 2018 and had culminated in October 2021.

All aircraft operators face a challenge in keeping the aircraft operating surfaces clean and clear of Foreign Object Debris (FOD). Very often, this is a labour-intensive task that needs to be repeated over a day. This manpower could be more gainfully employed if personnel could focus solely on their core tasks. Furthermore, visual spotting of FOD in low light conditions becomes rather challenging. Hence, the IAF is seeking innovative solutions towards detection of FOD without physical employment of manpower on the aircraft operating surfaces. Click here to read...

Preparations for Def-Expo 2022.

The 12th edition of DefExpo is scheduled to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat between October 18-22, 2022 in a first ever four-venue format which promises to engage the public and inspire them to join the Aerospace and Defence manufacturing sector; for ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in Defence. The Def-Expo 2022 was earlier scheduled from March 10-14, 2022 and was postponed due to logistical challenges being faced by participants at that stage. The new dates (October 18-22, 2022) were announced on August 08, 2022. The forthcoming edition is the first-ever edition exclusively for Indian companies.

The theme of DefExpo 2022 is ‘Path to Pride’. The expo will also mark the celebration of one year of the formation of the seven new defence companies, carved out of the erstwhile Ordnance Factories. All these companies will be participating for the first time at DefExpo.
The exhibition will also host the 2nd edition of the India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD), with invites extended to 53 African countries. A separate Indian Ocean Region plus (IOR+) conclave with participation of approximately 40 countries is also on the anvil. Click here to read...

Participation in Combined Maritime Forces Exercise.

INS Sunayna entered Port Victoria Seychelles on 24 Sep 22 to participate in the annual training exercise Operation Southern Readiness of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). This marks the maiden participation of an Indian Navy ship in CMF exercise. The ship is scheduled to participate as associate partner in the capacity building exercises being conducted by CMF. The joint training exercise is being attended by representative delegations from USA, Italy, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and ship participation from UK, Spain & India. Click here to read...
For more information: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1862198

INS Tarkash at Port Gentil, Gabon.

INS Tarkash made a port call at Port Gentil, Gabon as part of her ongoing deployment in the Gulf of Guinea for anti-piracy patrol. This marks the first visit by any Indian Naval Ship to Gabon. Click here to read...

5thAnnual Session of Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has called upon the Indian defence industry to identify and manufacture state-of-the-art cost-effective products/technologies to realise Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of a ‘New India’ that not only caters to its own needs, but also fulfils international requirements. He was addressing the 5thAnnual Session of Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) in New Delhi on September 27, 2022.The theme ‘[email protected]: Shaping for [email protected]’, with the aim to position India as one of the top countries in defence manufacturing. Click here to read...

Successful Flight Tests of Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS) Missile by DRDO.

DRDO conducted two successful test flight of Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS) missile from a ground based portable launcher at the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur. VSHORADS is a Man Portable Air Defence System (MANPAD) designed and developed indigenously by DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories and Indian Industry Partners.
VSHORADS missile incorporates many novel technologies including miniaturized Reaction Control System (RCS) and integrated avionics, which have been successfully proven during the tests. The missile, meant for neutralizing low altitude aerial threats at short ranges is propelled by a dual thrust solid motor. The design of the missile including launcher has been highly optimized to ensure easy portability. Both the flight tests have completely met the mission objectives. Click here to read...

Multinational Maritime Exercise Kakadu 2022

A P8I Patrol Aircraft of the Indian Navy participated in the Multinational Maritime Exercise Kakadu 2022 hosted by Royal Australian Navy in Darwin from 12 to 25 Sep 22, along with INS Satpura. The exercise had the participation of 34 aircraft from over 20 nations. Click here to read...

Government appoints Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

General Anil Chauhan, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM assumed office as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on September 30, 2022. General Chauhan will also be the Principal Military Advisor to the Raksha Mantri on all Tri-Service matters as well as head Department of Military Affairs as Secretary. He will also be Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). Click here to read...

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Indian Navy visited Australia.

Admiral R Hari Kumar, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Indian Navy visited Australia from 26 Sep – 28 Sep 22. This was his first official visit to Australia upon assuming the office of the CNS. During the visit, he held meetings with Chief of Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Vice Chief of Australian Defence Forces, Secretary of Defence, Chief of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Deputy Chief of Joint Operations. The CNS interacted with the prominent members of Australian Think Tanks to understand and develop new maritime cooperation opportunities. The discussions also highlighted the need for raising the level of synergy and focused efforts for overcoming the challenges of the maritime environment. Click here to read...

Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy Cruise Training Task Group arrived in Chennai on a three-day visit.

Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy Cruise Training Task Group consisting of two naval ships, arrived in Chennai on a three-day visit on 28 Sep 22.Commander of Cruise Training Task Group and other officials of the consulate of Korea had discussions with the Flag Officer Commanding Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval Area on matters of common interest. Click here to read...

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
Africa
Somalia
At least 27 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in a US airstrike in the Hiran region of Somalia.

On 21 September 2022, at least 27 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in a US-led airstrike in Somalia’s central Hiran region. According to the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the airstrike was the sixth recorded strike in 2022. “The defensive strikes allowed the Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (AUTMIS) forces to regain the initiative and continue the operation to disrupt al-Shabab in the Hiran region of central Somalia,” said AFRICOM. Click here to read...

Burkina Faso
Islamist terrorists attacked an aid convoy in the northern province of Soum.

On 27 September 2022, Islamist terrorists attacked an aid convoy of 150 vehicles, military-escorted and killed 11 security personnel; more than 50 civilians went missing. The attack will likely aggravate shortages of basic supplies, such as food and fuel in Djibo, which has been under a de-facto siege for months by Islamist terror groups. In Burkina Faso, around two million people are displaced due to conflict and climate change. Click here to read...

Nigeria
Security forces killed 07 Boko Haram terrorists in a CT operation in Borno State.

On 21 September 2022, the Nigerian troops of “Operation Desert Sanity and Operation Hadin Kai” reportedly killed 07 Boko Haram terrorists in a counter-terrorism operation in Kayamla village near Maiduguri in Borno State. Boko Haram terrorists usually come to areas to terrorise farmers and kidnap them for ransom money. Click here to read...

Afghanistan
The US raised terrorism concerns in Afghanistan and is ready to engage “pragmatically” with the Taliban.

On 28 September 2022, speaking at the Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS), Thomas West— the US special representative for Afghanistan, said that al-Qa’ida’s former leader— Ayman al-Zawahiri had the freedom to operate in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan before we eliminated him. However, we have concerns about al-Qa’ida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Ansarullah, and other terrorist groups that still have an active presence/connection in Afghanistan.

Over the matter, “we have been in contact with the Taliban leadership since the strike which eliminated al-Zawahiri, even in the wake of this event, we [US] are prepared to engage pragmatically with the Taliban regarding terrorism concerns,” said West. Click here to read...

Three people were killed and many injured in an explosion in Kabul.

On 21 September 2022, at least three people were killed, and 13 others were wounded in an explosion in Kabul city. According to the Taliban-appointed spokesperson for the Kabul police chief— Khalid Zadran, the explosion occurred in a restaurant in Kabul’s western Dehmazang neighbourhood. At the time, police were uncertain if the blast was an accident or a terror attack. However, Islamic State (IS)’s affiliated branch— Islamic State Khurasan Province (IS-KP), has increased attacks on mosques and minorities across the country since the Taliban seized political power in August 2021. Click here to read...

At least 07 people were killed in a blast near Mosque in Kabul.

On 23 September 2022, at least 07 people were killed, and 41 were injured in an explosion outside a Mosque in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood after Friday afternoon prayers in Kabul. “The bomb was planted in a vehicle parked in front of the mosque, and an investigation was underway to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said the Taliban-appointed spokesperson of Kabul Police chief— Khalid Zadran.

The bombing was the most recent in a string of deadly attacks that have targeted places of worship in Afghanistan and well-known clerics linked to the country's ruling Islamist Taliban. The Islamic State’s affiliate group— Islamic State Khurasan Province (IS-KP), has claimed responsibility for several attacks. Click here to read...

DOMESTIC TERRORISM
Jammu and Kashmir
Security forces eliminated three JeM terrorists in Kulgam

On 26-27 September 2022, security forces killed three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists, including a Pakistani national, in two separate counter-terrorism (CT) operations in Kulgam district of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

In the first incident, during the search operation in the Ahwatoo area, terrorists fired upon the security forces, which led to the exchange of fire. Two local JeM terrorists— Mohammad ShafiGanie and Mohammad Asif Wani, were eliminated. On 26 September 2022, a search operation in Batpora village of Kulgam district led to an exchange of fire and the elimination of a Pakistani JeM terrorist— Abu Hurarah. Security forces recovered incriminating materials, arms and ammunitions, including an AK-56, two AK-47s, a pistol, a grenade, four magazines, and a pistol magazine, from operation sites. Click here to read...

SIA filed a chargesheet against three accused, including a former minister, in a terror-funding case.

On 24 September 2022, the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police filed a chargesheet against three accused, including a former minister— Jatinder Singh, in a terror-funding case. “SIA Kashmir continued its action against narcotics dealers by conducting searches at multiple locations across the valley. The SIA conducted extensive searches at different locations in the districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Kupwara,” said a J&K police spokesperson.

In a statement released by the SIA, it was revealed that “Jatinder Singh was in touch with Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorists and separatists of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which is an unlawful and proscribed association. These inimical entities had sent this terror fund from Pakistan through their associates for Jatinder Singh’s political party. The vision of Jatinder’s political party was to make J&K, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan as one independent country by making a condominium of Pakistan and India, for having joint control over currency, external affairs and finance.” Click here to read...

Left-Wing Extremism
Security forces arrested a ‘most-wanted’ Maoist from Maharashtra.

In a joint operation, on 23 September 2022, Bihar Police, Jharkhand Police and Central Security forces arrested a top Maoist leader— Vinay Yadav aka Guruji, carrying a reward of ₹ 18 lakh and wanted in more than 54 cases, including an ambush in Gaya in 2006 on a CRPF convoy. Security forces arrested Vinay from the house of another Maoist sympathiser— AmrendraPaswan, at Mayapur village under Daudnagar police station limits of Aurangabad district, Maharashtra. Upon arrest, the security forces recovered ₹ 20 lakh hidden by Vinay in a hideout in Chakarbandha forests in the same district. Click here to read...

Around 700 Maoist supporters surrendered before Odisha police and BSF.

On 17 September 2022, around 700 active Maoist supporters from various villages on the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border surrendered before police and BSF (Border Security Force) personnel in the Malkangiri district in Odisha. These Maoist supporters were involved in assisting violent activities and killing of security forces personnel and civilians and also used to provide logistics to the Maoists.

According to the police, the surrendered militants and sympathisers from Odisha and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh demonstrated their opposition to Maoist ideology by burning Maoist effigies and clothing and shouting slogans— "Maobadi Murdabad Ama Sarkar Zindabad" in front of the media before surrendering. Click here to read...
For more information:

Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
NIA searched several locations across India and arrested PFI leaders and members in connection with the registered case.

On 22 September 2022, in a joint operation with the Economic Directorate (ED) and the State police forces, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) searched 93 locations in 15 States across India, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar, and Manipur. The searches were conducted on premises and offices of PFI (Popular Front of India) leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA.

The case— RC-03/2022/NIA/HYD pertains to the involvement of PFI leaders and other members in funding terrorist activities, organising training camps, providing arms training and radicalising people to join terrorist groups/organisations. The joint teams recovered incriminating materials, cash, sharp-edged weapons, and several digital devices during the search. The NIA made 45 arrests in the case, whereas 19 were arrested from Kerala, 11 from Tamil Nadu, 07 from Karnataka, 04 from Andhra Pradesh, 02 from Rajasthan, and 01 each from UP and Telangana. As of 22 September 2022, the NIA is investigating 19 cases related to PFI’s illicit activities.

Earlier on 18 September 2022, the NIA searched 38 locations in Telangana and 02 locations in Andhra Pradesh in connection with the same case. During the search, the NIA seized incriminating materials, digital devices, documents, two daggers, and cash worth ₹ 8,31,500 (Eight lakh thirty one thousand and five hundred Indian rupees). Click here to read...
For more information:

“PFI members have connections with SIMI and Indian Mujahideen”, claimed NIA.

According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), several PFI (Popular Front of India) members are associated with proscribed organisations, such as the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Indian Mujahideen (IM). The PFI leader— Abdul Rehman, used to be the National Secretary of SIMI and Abdul Sattar— the State Secretary at the PFI, used to be associated with SIMI in the same capacity.

According to news reports citing undisclosed sources, PFI member— Mohammed Sakib allegedly transferred money to the PFI through hawala channels from Pakistan and was in contact with Pakistan-based handlers who wanted to reach out to Pakistani prisoners lodged in different jails. Around 46 PFI members were arrested and convicted in different cases in 2010-2011. Around 355 PFI members have already been chargesheet by the NIA. Click here to read...

Khalistan-inspired Extremism
NIA filed suppl. chargesheet in a “conspiracy of targeted killing by KTF” case.

On 23 September 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a supplementary chargesheet against a Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) operative— Gagandeep Singh, aka Gaggu, in a case related to the conspiracy to kill a Hindu priest— Kamaldeep Sharma at village Bharsinghpur, Phillaur, Jalandhar, Punjab. On 04 July 2022, four other accused were chargesheet in the same case.

According to the investigations, another KTF operative Arshdeep Singh aka Arsh and Hardeep Singh Nijjar, both located in Canada, planned the entire conspiracy to sabotage peace and undermine religious harmony. The terrorist group's members carried out the targeted attack using weapons that Gagandeep Singh had provided on directions of Arshdeep Singh. Click here to read...

India raised concerns over the ‘Khalistan Referendum’ and pressed Canada for action against the same.

On 22 September 2022, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) raised concerns about ‘Khalistan’-inspired activities in Canada and found it “deeply objectionable” as a politically-motivated exercise by extremist elements in a friendly nation. The MEA’s response resulted from “little action” taken by Ontario on three diplomatic messages from the Government of India to stop the so-called ‘Khalistan Referendum’ in Canada’s Brampton on 19 September 2022, asking whether Indian Punjab should not be an independent country. The Canadian authorities reportedly said that “its citizens had the right to assemble and express their views peacefully and lawfully.” “Nevertheless, the Government of India will continue to press the Government of Canada for action in this matter,” said MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. Click here to read...

Narcotics Trafficking
NIA arrested 26th accused in Heroin seizure case at Mundra Port.

On 27 September 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested the 26th accused— Sushanta Sarkar, in a Heroin seizure case at Mundra Port, Gujarat. Sarkar was involved in illicit international trade and trafficking of heroin into India for supporting terrorist activities. Reportedly, Sarkar had ordered heroin concealed in semi-processed talc from Afghanistan to India via Iran in November 2021. He used his “Jesus Christ Impex” firm to do such illicit operations. He further transferred the consignment to another firm belonging to KabirTalwar in New Delhi.

The case— RC-26/2021/NIA/DLI pertains to the international drug trafficking network run by two brothers— Hassan Daad and Hussain Daad (both Afghan nationals). Both brothers delivered multiple heroin-laced consignments to India in containers via the maritime route. In Afghanistan, heroin was purified and concealed in materials such as semi-processed talc and bituminous coal. These shipments were then trucked from the Indian ports of Gujarat and Kolkata to New Delhi. Click here to read...

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