VIF News Digest: National Security, Defence Studies & Terrorism, January 1-15, 2019



International Terrorism:




  • Nigeria-Boko Haram overpowered military troops in North-East Nigeria;

  • Somalia-Six Al-Shabaab terrorists killed in US Air Strikes.
  • Domestic Terrorism:

    Jammu and Kashmir

  • Army personnel killed in IED explosion in Rajouri District;

  • Al-Badr’s commander killed in Kulgam District;

  • Security Forces arrest two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists from Bandipora.
  • Khalistan-inspired Extremism

  • Babbar Khalsa International militant deported from Saudi Arabia;

  • Pro-Khalistani appointed as Gurdwara Chief in Canada.
  • Islamist Extremism in India (including Islamic State)

  • NIA registers case against youths for alleged ISIS connection;

  • NIA arrests HuHI operative from Uttar Pradesh.
  • Cyber & Artificial Intelligence (Security Perspective)

  • China’s ‘Cyberwar room’ manned by 1.85 lakh hackers.

    Army Tech Seminar (ARTECH 2019)

    In its quest for modernization through optimum use of emerging technologies, Indian Army organised the Army Technology Seminar-2019 (ARTECH 2019) on the theme “Disruptive Impact of Emerging Technologies on Land Warfare” at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt, on 11 Jan 2019. The seminar was aimed to bring together stakeholders in the military, academia and industry to provide perspective on the available and emerging technologies which could have an impact on warfighting. The event was attended by Dr Subhash Bhamre, Raksha Rajya Mantri, Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, Shri Ajay Kumar, Secretary Department of Defence Production and other dignitaries from Ministry of Defence, army, academia and civil defence industry.

    In his keynote address, the Chief of the Army Staff said that technological disruptions are rapidly changing the character of warfighting and future conflicts will be fought across domains wherein networks and integration would be the key to generate military power. An exhibition showcasing military innovations developed by field army, DRDO, academia and industry was also organised during the seminar.

    India-Indonesia Strategic Partnership

    India and Indonesia have established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and there is considerable emphasis from both sides to enhance bilateral defence cooperation including maritime security cooperation. During the 6th India-Indonesia Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) meeting, held in New Delhi on August 09, 2018, both sides had agreed that Chief of Indonesia’s apex advisory institution, BAKAMLA, will visit India for a High Level Meeting (HLM). Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Hon’ble Defence Minister visits Andaman Nicobar Command

    Defence Minister of India, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman arrived at Port Blair on 13th evening and was received by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, ADC, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command at INS Utkrosh. The Defence Minister is on a two-day visit to Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC) on 13 & 14 Jan 19. On her second visit to the Command, she reviewed its operational preparedness and infrastructural developments of the outlying units of ANC. During her visit, the Defence Minister witnessed an operational exercise involving all the forces of the Command, off the Campbell Bay in the Great Nicobar Island on 14 Jan 19. Smt Nirmala Sitaraman will be interacting with troops and also inaugurating the second phase of Married Accommodation Project (MAP) consisting of 868 dwelling units for troops of ANC at Brichgunj Military Station. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]


    Islamic State operatives arrested in Diyala

    On 09 January 2019, in a joint counter-terrorism operation by the 110th Brigade of al-Hashd al-Shabbi (Popular Mobilisation Forces) with Military Intelligence (MI) operatives, three Islamic State (IS) operatives were arrested from the regions of al-Tabj and Bardan in the North-Eastern Diyala in Iraq. The al-Hasd al-Shabbi force is an alliance of volunteer Shia paramilitary forces and supported by the Iraqi government to counter Islamic State since 2014. The arrest of Islamic State operatives reasserts the view that IS operatives and modules are still present in different parts of Iraq. This however, should not be seen as a negation of the victory over the group, claimed in December 2017 by former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, since terror groups such as IS have strong ideological moorings.Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Blast in Kirkuk

    On 09 January 2019, a bomb blast in Haftaghar village of Daquq in the South of Kirkuk, Iraq killed an Iraqi civilian and injured two others. No group made a claim of the attack, but the pattern of blasts at crowded places including mosques across Iraq, suggests involvement of Islamic State (IS) activists behind this explosion. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]


    Al-Qaeda-linked groups gain ground in Syria

    In the Northern Province of Idlib in Syria, an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group, Hay’at Tahir al-Sham (HTS) is gaining control from Turkey-backed groups connected to the National Liberation Front (NLF). The objective of HTS is to dominate as much of territory as possible before the planned talks between Russia and Turkey, to bring the end to the almost eight-year long Syrian Civil War. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham operatives arrested in Turkey

    The counter-terrorism unit of Turkey police carried out a major operation in the Southern city of Adana and in the capital city Ankara, and arrested 13 operatives of Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliated group, the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS). Due to Turkey’s involvement in Syrian conflict and close geographical proximity, the presence of HTS network in Turkey highlights the security threat to the country. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]


    Islamic State’s senior commander killed in Nangarhar Province

    In a raid by US Forces in the Eastern Nangarhar Province, a senior commander of Islamic State (IS), Khetab Emir was killed on 10 January. Khetab was responsible for facilitating high-profile attacks and providing weapons and explosives material to the IS fighters in the region. IS has a stronghold in Nangarhar province. Along with its local affiliated group—Islamic State Khorasan Province or ISKP, which has been active since 2015 along Afghanistan’s Eastern Border with Pakistan. ISKP has been involved in fighting with Taliban, Afghan and US-allied forces. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]


    Boko Haram overpowered military troops in North-East Nigeria

    On 08 January, the militants of Boko Haram or Islamic State (IS)-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) overpowered the troops at the military posts in Borno state in North-East of Nigeria. A day earlier, on 07 January, jihadist of the same group attacked military troops in Buni Gari village in Yobe state, leading to “some losses” of troops. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]


    Six Al-Shabaab terrorists killed in US Air Strikes

    Six Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in three air-strikes carried out by the US African Command (US Africom) on 08 January in a camp near Yaaq Braawe in Southern Somalia. According to the US Military, Al-Shabaab uses ‘safe-haven’ in Central and Southern Somalia to conspire terrorist attacks, and to shelter extremists. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Jammu and Kashmir

    Army personnel killed in IED explosion in Rajouri District

    In an explosion caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Nowshera Sector of Rajouri District, an Indian Army’s Major rank officer and a soldier [identity undisclosed] were injured but later succumbed to their injuries. In a separate incident in the Sunderbani Sector of Rajouri District, an Indian Army porter, Hemraj was shot at and he later on succumbed to death. On the basis of the pattern of incidents near the Line of Control (LoC), it is believed that Border Action Team, a specialised squad comprise of Pakistan Army and militants, was involved in the killing of Army porter. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Al-Badr’s commander killed in Kulgam District

    In a joint counter-terrorism operation by troops of Indian Army’s 34 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), J&K Police, and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on 12 January, one of the most-wanted Al-Badr’s commander Zeenat ul-Islam aka Usman and his associate, Shakeel Ahmed Dhar/Dar aka Faisal, were killed in Katpora village in Kulgam District. Earlier, in 2008, Zeenat ul-Islam was arrested under Public Safety Act (PSA) for being a member of Al-Badr terrorist group. After his release in 2011, Zeenat joined Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). He was on Indian Army’s ‘12 most-wanted’ militant list that includes Ansar Ghazwat ul-Hind (AGuH)’s chief Zakir Musa and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Security Forces arrest two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists from Bandipora District

    In a joint counter-terrorism operation by Indian Army and J&K Police on 14 January, two terrorists, including Sarfraz Ahmad Sheer, of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were arrested from Ajas area in Bandipora District of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the operational spokesman of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Burhan-u-Din rejected the security forces’ claim by saying that Sarfraz was not a member of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

    Earlier on 11 January, a joint team of Delhi and J&K Police arrested two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists, Kifayatullah Bukhari, and a juvenile (identity not disclosed) from Shopian District in J&K. The arrests, prior to the Republic Day on 26 January, is seen as a success for security forces. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]
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    Khalistan-inspired Extremism

    Babbar Khalsa International militant deported from Saudi Arabia

    Bhupinder Singh aka Dilawar, a militant belonging to Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), who was deported by the Saudi Arabian authorities, was arrested by Mohali Police on his arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on 06 January 2019. Bhupinder was an accused in 2017 conspiracy case of assassination of Congress party leaders Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and some prominent leaders of other organisations including Shiv Sena. Bhupinder was actively involved in raising funds in Saudi Arabia for pro-Khalistan elements in Punjab to execute the assassination conspiracy. In 2017, Punjab Police had requested the Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Bhupinder, as he was actively recruiting and radicalising Sikh youth population through various social-media platforms such as being moderator of a Facebook page of the group, ‘Mission-e-Khalistan’. This also highlights the intervention of Khalistan-inspired extremists to propagate the agenda via cyberspace. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Pro-Khalistani appointed as Gurdwara Chief in Canada

    Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian whose name was in the list of most-wanted Khalistani extremists, has been appointed as Chief of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara (GNSG) in Surrey Province of Canada. The GNSG has one of the largest memberships in Canada. Nijjar’s name figures in the list which was handed over to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Punjab’s Chief Minister Amarinder Singh during the former’s visit to India in February 2018. Acting to the Punjab CM’s request, in April 2018, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had arrested Nijjar but released him without any charges being filed. Nijjar is accused of running terror camp in British Columbia Province of Canada and his appointment as a Chief of GNSG should be a matter of concern. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Islamist Extremism in India (including the Islamic State)

    NIA registers case against youths for alleged IS connection

    The National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against eight Indian youths from Kerala and Karnataka but based in Qatar, for their intentions to travel to Syria since 2013 and join Jund al-Aqsa and Jabhat al-Nusra, both terrorist outfits affiliated to Islamic State (IS) or Daesh. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    NIA arrests HuHI operative from Uttar Pradesh

    In an on-going investigation of Islamic State (IS)-inspired indigenous group, Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam (HuHI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Mohammad Absar from Hapur in Uttar Pradesh, on 12 January. With this, NIA has arrested 12 people in the case of conspiracy by HuHI to conduct suicide attacks and serial blasts, targeting politicians and government installations, in Delhi and other parts of North India. The NIA officials also seized 25 kg of explosives, IS-related literature and INR 7.5 lakh in a raids following the arrests.

    Mohammad Absar who teaches at Jamia Hussainia Abul Hassan, had visited Jammu and Kashmir in May and August 2018, along with another accused, Iftekhar Sakib in regards to a terror conspiracy. Earlier, on 26 December 2018, NIA had raided 17 location in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, and arrested 10 accused members of HuHI. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

    Cyber & Artificial Intelligence (Security Perspective)

    China’s ‘Cyberwar room’ manned by 1.85 lakh hackers

    According to a media report, the growing number of Chinese technology companies in India has raised ‘security’ concerns with cyber-security experts because India-based websites, mainly government, are primary targets of hackers employed by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The report adds the PLA has a dedicated ‘cyberwar room’ where 35,000 hackers are hired on Chinese government’s payroll, and 1.5 lakh hackers from private companies work on the instructions given by the PLA. It is also said that over 35 percent of cyber-attacks on Indian servers originate from China. According to a market survey by the International Data Cooperation (IDC) in 2018, out of top five smartphone brands in India, four of them, namely Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Transsion, are manufactured by China-based companies. Click here to read.. [Back to Contents ]

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