VIF News Digest: National Security- Defence Studies & Terrorism, January 16-31, 2019
  • Andaman Nicobar Command to enhance operational capability;
  • Sanction for increased maritime surveillance assets;
  • RM Dedicates Diffo Bridge in Arunachal to the Nation;
  • Largest Ever Coastal Defence Exercise Ten Years After ‘26/11’;
  • India Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)- 2019;
  • Successful Flight Test of LRSAM;
  • Indigenous construction of Six Project 75(I) submarines by DAC.
International Terrorism:
  • Police arrest key Islamic State commander in Faryab;
  • 21 militants surrender Nangarhar.
  • Suicide and gun attack in Balochistan.
  • Somalia- Pro-IS commander killed by Al-Shabaab’s operatives;
  • 52 al-Shabaab extremists killed in US-led airstrike in Somalia;
  • Kenya- Al-Shabaab led attack in Nairobi claimed 21 lives;
  • Libya- AQIM’s militants killed in CT operation in Southern Libya.
Domestic Terrorism:
Jammu and Kashmir
  • Three militants killed in encounter in Budgam;
  • Four policemen injured in a grenade blast in Srinagar;
  • JeM militants attacked Police Station in Kulgam.
Khalistan-inspired Extremism
  • SFJ launches an anti-India campaign #BurnTheTricolour;
  • NIA takes over ‘Khalistan’ case from Maharashtra ATS.
Islamist Extremism in India (including the Islamic State)
  • No-immediate extradition of Tahawwur Rana, from the United States;
  • NIA detains four people in raids in UP and Punjab;
  • NIA arrests a person in FIF-related terror funding case;
  • NIA arrests 2006 Kozhikode Blasts accused from Delhi;
  • Burdwan blast case accused arrested in Kerala;
  • Two JeM operatives arrested ahead of Republic Day.
Counter-Terrorism Cooperation:
  • India-Maldives to strengthen Maritime Security and CT ties.
Cyber & Artificial Intelligence (Security Perspective):
  • Induction of AI will enhance capabilities of the Armed Forces.


Headquarters Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC) to enhance its operational capability with the upcoming commissioning of INS Kohassa

Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur will be commissioned as INS Kohassa on 24 Jan 19 by Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Chief of Naval Staff. INS Kohassa has been named after a White-Bellied Sea Eagle, which is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI). INS Kohassa will become the third Naval Air Base in Andaman after INS Utkrosh at Port Blair and INS Baaz at Campbell Bay.

NAS Shibpur was established in 2001 as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for surveillance in North Andaman. Located in the northern most part of the islands, the airfield holds strategic importance not only for the security of the islands but also for its overall development. With the addition of this airfield, the ANC’s ability to operate independently from all the regions of the ANI will get a great boost. Basing of an independent naval unit with the requisite facilities and manpower will enhance overall operational capabilities of ANC. It will open up the opportunity for permanent basing of aircrafts at the Naval Air Station. Presently, it provides detached operations of smaller aircrafts of Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard. Click here to read...

Sanction for increased maritime surveillance assets - 12 Dornier Aircraft

Govt of India has sanctioned three new Naval Air Squadrons to be setup in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Besides, government has also sanctioned manpower and additional aircraft in existing Dornier Surveillance Squadrons in Kerala and Andaman Islands. It may be mentioned that contract for procurement of 12 Dornier aircraft was signed with HAL (Kanpur) on 29 Dec 16 with delivery commencing in Jan 19. Click here to read...

Raksha Mantri dedicates Diffo Bridge in Arunachal to the Nation

Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the 426.60 metre long Pre-stressed Concrete Box Girder type bridge over Diffo River on Roing-Koron-Paya road in Arunachal Pradesh. Dedicating the bridge to the nation, RM praised the commendable work being done by Project Udayak, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in this region.

Smt Sitharaman appreciated completion of this prestigious bridge which would provide uninterrupted access between Dibang valley and Lohit valley region of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and an all-weather Road to the troops deployed on the China Border. Director General Border Roads Lt Gen Harpal Singh praised the BRO for completing the project under tough working conditions. Click here to read...

Navy coordinates largest ever coastal defence exercise ten years after ‘26/11’

Ten years after 26/11, the Indian Navy commenced the largest coastal defence exercise off the Indian coast today. Exercise SEA VIGIL, a first of its kind, is being undertaken along the entire 7516.6 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India and is involving all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories along with all maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.

Exercise SEA VIGIL aims to comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since 26/11. Seaward monitoring during the exercise will entail patrolling off coast, in Offshore Development Areas and off our islands by the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, supported by the State Marine Police. Closer coast, strategic assets, ports, Single Point Moorings (SPMs) will be patrolled by designated agencies. Shore-based monitoring will entail enhanced vigil by the State Police along the coast; monitoring of fish landing centres by state fisheries departments; as also monitoring of port areas by respective port authorities. Click here to read...

India-Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)- 2019

The final planning conference to work out the modalities for IAFTX-2019 was conducted at Pune on 23-24 January 2019. Delegates from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Niger & Zambia attended the conference.

IAFTX-2019 is scheduled to be conducted at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering, Pune from 18 March to 27 March 2019. The joint training exercise is being conducted with more than a dozen African countries and India. Click here to read...

Successful flight test of LRSAM

Ship Launched Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) was successfully test fired from INS Chennai against an incoming aerial target flying at low altitude. All the mission objectives have been met. LRSAM has been jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India, and M/s Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel, for the Indian Navy. Click here to read...

DAC approval for indigenous construction of six Project 75(I) submarines under strategic partnership model

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), in a landmark decision approved indigenous construction of six submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs. 40,000 crores. This is the second project under the MoD’s ambitious Strategic Partnership (SP) model that aims at providing a significant fillip to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. SP model envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian Strategic Partner, in collaboration with foreign OEM to set up production facilities in the country. The model has a long-term vision of promoting India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment through transfer of niche technologies and higher Indigenous Content thereby enhancing self-sufficiency for meeting the future requirements of the Armed Forces. Click here to read...


21 militants surrender in Nangarhar

According to a statement issued by the provincial government on 31 January, total of 20 Taliban and one Islamic State (IS) militants surrendered at the provincial capital Jalalabad. Click here to read...

Police arrest key Islamic State commander in Faryab

The Afghanistan Police, on 18 January, identified and arrested a key commander of Islamic State (IS) (identity not disclosed) from Maimana in Northern Faryab Province. However, IS has not made any statement regarding the arrest. Click here to read...

Suicide and gun attack in Balochistan

According to media report, eight Pakistani police personnel and a civilian died in a terrorist attack on 29 January at the office of Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) of police in Loralai district of Balochistan. According to the statement released by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), three armed suicide bombers attempted to enter the DIG office complex where around 800 candidates were present for the recruitment for Balochistan Police. Frontier Corps (FC). Army troops were called in for safe evacuation of the assembled candidates. 12 police personnel and nine civilians were also injured in this gun and suicide attack. Reportedly, all three attackers were killed. Later, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility of the attack. Click here to read...

Pro-Islamic State commander killed by Al-Shabaab’s operatives in Bu’ale

According to a report dated 15 January in Garowe Online, Al-Shabaab’s operatives killed a suspected pro-Islamic State (IS) commander—Yahya haji Fiile aka Abu Zakariye - in Bu’ale, a small town in Southern Somalia of Middle Jubba region. Al-Shabaab’s intelligence wing identified Yahya Haji as an IS fighter in Somalia. Earlier in 2015, Al-Shabaab had killed its own commander—Abu Numan, who had defected to the IS and killed by Al-Shabaab’s internal security force, Amniyat. Since then, Amniyat has killed several former Al-Shabaab operatives who defected to IS. Click here to read...

Al-Shabaab led attack in Nairobi claimed 21 lives

On 15 January, five armed terrorists of Somalia-based Islamist terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, attacked the DusitD2 Hotel and business complex in Nairobi and killed 21 people and injured 28 others. Since 2011, when Kenyan government has sent its military to Somalia to fight the al-Shabaab, Kenya has been one of the targets of the jihadist group. As reported by the BBC, before entering the lobby of the hotel, the terrorists threw bombs in the car park in which one of the five terrorists blew himself. Later, the complex was secured by the Kenyan security forces and all four remaining terrorists were ‘eliminated’ during 19-hour long counterterrorism operation. The State House (residence of Kenyan President) and Parliament buildings are less than 5 km in distance to the location of the Tuesday attack i.e. DusitD2 Hotel. Click here to read...

AQIM’s militants killed in counter-terrorism operation in Southern Libya

In a counter-terrorism operation by the Eastern Libyan Forces, Abu Talha al-Libi, a commander in al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdullah al-Desouki, and al-Mahdi Dangou aka Abu Barakat, were killed near the city of Sabha in Libya. According to a Libyan official (identity undisclosed), previously Al-Mahdi Dangou had links with Islamic State (IS). The operation was to secure oil and gas fields from the militants. After the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, both Al-Qaeda and IS have been using the vacuum created in the Southern Libya as a base for the attacks within Libya and its neighbouring nations. Click here to read...


Jammu and Kashmir
Three militants killed in encounter in Budgam District

In a joint counter-terrorism operation involving local police, Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and CRPF personnel, the Hapat Nallah area of Zinpanchal in Budgam district was cordoned off and three militants were killed after a day-long gun-fight between the security forces and militants.
Click here to read...

Four policemen injured in a grenade blast in Srinagar

As per the media report, four policemen were injured in a grenade attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, near the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium, the venue for the Republic Day event in Srinagar. Soon after the incident, the security forces launched a search operation in the area; however, the militants managed to escape. Earlier, on 11 January, JeM militants also carried out a grenade attack on CRPF bunker in Lal Chowk area in Srinagar. However, there were no reported injuries in that attack. Click here to read...

JeM militants attacked police station in Kulgam District

On 20 January, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants threw a grenade at Yaripora Police Station in Kulgam district. No injury or casualty was reported in the attack. According a report by J&K Police, in last 10 days (10-19 January), six grenade attacks on the security forces had been reported. The report asserted that the grenades used in attacks were made available by the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to the militants in the Kashmir Valley. Click here to read...
Click here to read...

Khalistan-inspired extremism
SFJ launches an anti-India campaign #BurnTheTricolour

The United States (US)-based pro-Khalistani organisation—Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) - has launched over social-media platforms an anti-India campaign named #BurnTheTricolour,. In one of the videos, a group of children gathered at a place and a girl says: “Sikhs For Justice calls out to burn the Tricolour to protest against the Indian Republic Day. Referendum 2020 is the only solution”. After shouting pro-Khalistan and anti-India slogans, the girl burnt the Indian Flag. According to a media report, to create a law and order situation during the Republic Day celebrations on 26 January, SFJ issued a call for gathering of few hundred of Sikhs in Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), and the US. Click here to read...

NIA takes over the ‘Khalistan’ case from Maharashtra ATS
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has hand-over the case of an accused—Harpal Singh Naik - to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for further probe. Harpal Singh Naik was arrested on 2 December 2018, from Chakan in Pune, Maharashtra, for his alleged connections with the Khalistan movement. Preliminary investigation has revealed that Harpal Singh was active on social-media platforms to disseminate pro-Khalistan propaganda. Click here to read...

Islamist Extremism in India (including Islamic State)
No-immediate extradition of Tahawwur H. Rana from the United States

According to Indian officials (identity undisclosed), extradition of 26/11 Mumbai attacks’ conspirator—Tahawwur Hussain Rana - is unlikely to happen before the completion of his 14-year jail term in the United State due to end in December 2021. Rana who is a Pakistani-Canadian national, was convicted by the US Federal Court in 2013 for his involvement in conspiring a terrorist attack on a Danish Newspaper and providing material for explosives to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for carrying-out 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008, which claimed 166 lives including six of US nationals. However, to avoid Rana’s deportation to Canada post his jail term in US as he is Canadian, the Indian and US officials are likely to complete paperwork before his release from jail. Click here to read...

NIA detains four people in raids in UP and Punjab

On 17 January, officials of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and local police raided seven locations in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, in connection to an on-going investigation of Islamic State (IS)-inspired indigenous module—Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam (HuHI). The officials detained four men (identity undisclosed) for further interrogation in the case. Since 26 December 2018, NIA has arrested 12 suspects of the HuHI group for conspiring suicide attacks and serial blasts in Delhi-NCR region, and other parts of North India. Click here to read...

NIA arrests a person in FIF-related terror funding case

On 21 January, NIA arrested Mohammad Hussain Molani aka Babloo, on his arrival from Dubai at the Jaipur International Airport in Rajasthan. Molani is accused of keeping contacts with the financers of Falah-e-Insaniyat (FIF), which is a Pakistan-based organisation linked with Jamat-ud-Dawa and its chief Hafiz Saeed. Following instructions, Molani transferred funds via hawala channels to propagate unrest in India. According to media report, Molani is the fourth accused arrested in FIF-related terror funding case since 2 July 2018.

Following the arrest of Molani, NIA carried out raids on 23 January at eight locations in five States. The raids were conducted in Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Sikar and Jaipur (Rajasthan), Delhi, Valsad and Surat (Gujarat), and Kasargod (Kerala). During the search, NIA seized multiple cellular phones, SIM cards, Passport and foreign nationality cards, computer-related devices, and cash worth INR 21 lac. Click here to read...

NIA arrests 2006 Kozhikode Blast accused from Delhi

In connection with the 2006 twin blast case at Kozhikode, NIA on 24 January, arrested Mohammad Ashar from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on his arrival from Saudi Arabia. Mohammad Ashar was named as an accused in the charge sheet by NIA in 2010. However, he had already escaped to Saudi Arabia in 2007. It may be recalled that that on 3 March 2006, two IED blasts had occurred at the KSRTC and Mofussil bus terminus in Kozhikode city in Kerala. Two people were injured in the blasts, besides the damage to the infrastructure. NIA had taken over the investigation of the case in December 2009 and chargesheeted eight people, including Mohammad Ashar in 2010 under various Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and the Explosive Substances Act (ESA). Click here to read...

Burdwan blast case accused arrested in Kerala

In a joint operation by West Bengal and Kerala Police on 30 January, 2019, Abdul Matin—one of the accused in the 2014 Burdwan blast in West Bengal - was arrested from Edavanna in Malappuram District of Kerala. Abdul Matin is an operative of Jama’at ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). Earlier, on 3 August 2018, NIA had arrested prime accused in the case—Mustafizur Rahman and Abdul Karim, also operatives of JMB - from Kottakal in Malappuram District. Click here to read...

Two JeM operatives arrested ahead of Republic Day

In a joint counter-terrorism operation, Delhi Police’s Special Cell and the Military Intelligence (MI) arrested two alleged operatives—Abdul Latif Ganaie (commander) and Hilal Bhat (deputy commander) of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) - for conspiring serial bomb blasts in Delhi and Srinagar ahead of Republic Day 2019. JeM had reportedly selected five targets for serial blasts which included the Delhi Secretariat, an IGL gas pipeline in East Delhi, Haj Manzil, India Gate, and shopping area in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi. Apart from photographs of the target locations, police seized two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), 26 cartridges, and .32 bore pistol.
On specific inputs, Abdul Ganaie was arrested on 20 January from nearby area of Rajghat in Delhi. His interrogation led police to Hilal Bhat who was arrested from Bandipora in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). During interrogation, both confessed that their Pakistan-based handler—Abu Mauz aka Abu Bakar - had provided the IEDs and other material in November 2018 with instructions to throw grenades on security force personnel in J&K and to use IEDs in parts of Delhi to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations. Click here to read...

Counter-Terrorism Cooperation
India-Maldives to strengthen ties on maritime security and counter-terrorism

On significant discussion on 24 January, India and Maldives agreed to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries. Both nations will continue close cooperation in maritime security, counter-terrorism, and medical cooperation. Maldives’ Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi met India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during former’s recent official visit to India. Click here to read...

Cyber & Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Security Perspective
Induction of AI will enhance capabilities of the Armed Forces

According to a media report, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics has developed AI-based solutions to enhance intelligence collation and analysis capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces. A task force has been constituted to study the on-going research in AI and its adoption into the defence sector, with a future road-map to embedding AI with core defence strategy. Click here to read...

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