VIF News Digest: National Security - Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-31 March, 2019
  • Opening ceremony: Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019;
  • Curtain Raiser: Indo-Sri Lanka joint Exercise Mitra Shakti-VI;
  • 33rd Edition of India-Indonesia coordinated patrol (Ind-Indo CORPAT) commences at Port Blair;
  • Indian Navy - first responder to Cyclone 'IDAI' in Mozambique 19 Mar 19;
  • Development of Combat Management System for Indigenous Aircraft Carrier through Private Sector.
International Terrorism:
  • 50 Afghan Border police personnel surrendered to Taliban in Badghis;
  • An abducted Indian returned to India after 10 months;
  • Al-Qaeda fighters killed in an airstrike in Ghazni province;
  • IS claimed an attack on Shiite Shrine in Kabul.
  • Germany supports listing of Masood Azhar as a terrorist in EU.
  • Chad- Boko Haram killed 23 Chad soldiers;
  • Mali- JNIM claimed Mali Army base attack.
  • CT personnel arrested 13 suspected militants from Sabah.
New Zealand
  • Three Indians among others killed in Mosque attacks in Christchurch.
Domestic Terrorism
Jammu and Kashmir
  • ED attaches 13 properties of seven HM operatives;
  • Police arrested three JeM operatives from Srinagar-Baramulla road;
  • Six terrorists were killed in exchange of fire at three locations;
  • Government of India banned JKLF organisation;
  • JeM operative arrested in Delhi;
  • Security forces killed four terrorists in Shopian and Kupwara;
  • HM terrorist arrested from Anantnag.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • Security Forces killed four Maoists in Sukma;
  • NIA forms an exclusive cell to deal in LWE/Maoists cases.
North-East Conflict
  • Prospects of Naga Framework Agreement.
Khalistan-Inspired Extremism
  • Pakistan names Khalistan sympathiser for Kartarpur pilgrims’ committee;
  • KCF & KZF terrorist arrested in Jalandhar.
Cyber & Artificial Intelligence (Security Perspective)
  • JeM uses ‘Textnow’ app for recruitment;
  • Facebook’s AI failed to detect NZ shooting video.
Counterterrorism Dialogue:
  • India-US Counter-Terrorism JWG and Designations Dialogue.
Opening ceremony: Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019

The inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 (AFINDEX-19), involving India and African nations was held from 18 March to 27 March 2019. It started with a grand opening ceremony on 18 March 2019 at Aundh Military Station, Pune. Contingents from 17 African Nations i.e. Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe came together for the opening ceremony along with a contingent of Maratha Light Infantry representing India. Major General Sanjeev Sharma, General Officer Commanding, Golden Katar Division, who was the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony, reviewed the parade, in the presence of a large number of Defence Attaches and other officials of participating nations. A fly past by a set of Advanced Light Helicopters and Cheetah Helicopter of the Indian Army carrying the flags of United Nations, India and the AFINDEX was the highlight of the opening ceremony.

The aim of the exercise is to practice the participating nations in planning and conducting Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under Chapter VII of United Nations Peace Keeping Operations. The exercise focused on exchange of best practices between the participating nations, team building and tactical level operations in conduct of United Nations mandated tasks to include establishment of a new mission, setting up of a United Nations Headquarters for Peace Keeping operations, setting of Military Observer sites during the peace keeping missions, protection of civilians, nuances of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling aspects and aspects related to Humanitarian Mine Assistance. Click here to read...

Curtain Raiser: Indo-Sri Lanka joint Exercise Mitra Shakti-VI

Exercise MITRA SHAKTI is conducted annually as part of military diplomacy and interaction between armies of India & Sri Lanka. The joint exercise for the year 2018-19 is being conducted from 26 March to 08 April 2019 in Sri Lanka. Troops from 1st Battalion the BIHAR Regiment of the Indian Army and Gemunu Watch Battalion of Sri Lankan Army jointly undertook the exercise. The aim of the exercise is to build and promote close relations between armies of both the countries and to enhance ability of joint exercise commander to take military contingents of both nations under command. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist environment under United Nations mandate. Exercise MITRA SHAKTI-VI will go a long way in further cementing relationship between both the nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation at grassroots levels between both the armies. Click here to read...

33rd Edition of India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol commences at Port Blair

Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin and Maritime Patrol Aircraft CN-235 led by Cmde Dafit Santoso arrived at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India for the Opening Ceremony of the 33rd edition of the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) held from 19 Mar to 04 Apr 2019. The Ambassador of Indonesia to India, Mr. Shidharto Raza Suryodipuro also visited Port Blair to attend the Opening Ceremony held at Port Blair on 20 - 21 Mar 19.

The Indian delegation is led by the senior officer from the Indian Navy, Commodore Ashutosh Ridhorkar, VSM, Naval Component Commander, Andaman and Nicobar Command.

Indian Navy - first responder to Cyclone 'IDAI' in Mozambique

The ship and aircraft from both the countries undertook patrolling on the respective sides of 236 nautical miles long International Maritime Boundary line. The patrolling was conducted in three phases from 22-31 March 2019. This was followed by Closing Ceremony at Belawan, Indonesia, scheduled from 01-04 April 2019.

The ships of First Training Squadron of Indian Navy (Sujata, Sarathi and Shardul) operating in the Southern Indian Ocean were diverted to Port Beira, Mozambique based on request received from the Government of Mozambique to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the local population post the devastation caused by cyclone 'IDAI' which struck the coast of Mozambique on 15 Mar 19. INS Sujata along with ICGS Sarathi arrived at Port Beira in the morning of 18 Mar 19 whilst INS Shardul arrived on 19 Mar 19 and are providing necessary support to the local administration. Upon arrival at the port, the Indian Navy ships shifted from anchorage and berthed alongside taking advantage of the tide and commenced liaison work with local authorities immediately.

Cyclone 'IDAI' made landfall at Beira, Mozambique in early hours of 15 Mar 19 causing widespread damage and loss of human life in the Central and Northern provinces of the country. Preliminary inputs indicate that city of Beira faced the maximum devastation with large scale damage to infrastructure. There are also reports of about 5000 personnel marooned at Buzi near Port Beira requiring immediate evacuation. The safe evacuation of the affected personnel by Indian Navy ships is being coordinated in consultation with local authorities. The disembarkation of HADR stores including food, medicines and clothing to the Mozambique Defence authorities has been completed. Arrangements are in progress to disembark potable water. Click here to read...

Development of Combat Management System for indigenous Aircraft Carrier through Private Sector

The Combat Management System (CMS) for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) developed with M/s Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division (TPSED), in collaboration with Weapon and Electronics System Engineering Establishment (WESEE) and M/s MARS, Russia, was handed over by Mr Sukaran Singh, CEO and MD, M/s Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. to Indian Navy/ Chief of Materiel, Vice Admiral GS Pabby, PVSM, AVSM, VSM on 28 Mar 19 at M/s TPSED, Bengaluru, on successful completion of all tests and trials. The event was attended by Rear Admiral Antony George, NM, VSM, ACNS (SR), Rear Admiral SK Nair, NM, ACOM (IT&S) and other senior officers from the Indian Navy, and M/s TPSED, including firm’s COO, Mr NeeleshTungar and CTO, Mr R. Muralidharan.

This is a major landmark on Indian Navy’s thrust towards the Government’s policy of 'Make in India' to encourage indigenous development and promoting private industry participation. It assumes great significance as it is the first CMS developed by a Private Industry for IN and is for India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier. Prior to accepting, the system, software and hardware were subjected to rigorous acceptance trials. The system successfully cleared all acceptance tests, endurance and full load trials. Click here to read...

50 Afghan border police personnel surrendered to Taliban in Badghis

In a fight with Taliban group over control of Badghis province on 16 March, around 50 of 100 Afghan Border police (ABP) surrendered, while the remaining 50 continued fighting in the district of Bala Murghab. However, Taliban claimed that over 90 members of ABP surrendered, adding that it had killed the others. Click here to read...

Abducted Indian returned to India after 10 months

One out of seven Indian nationals abducted by Taliban on 06 May 2018 in Baghlan province returned to India after 10 months of captivity. India will continue to work closely for the safe and early return of remaining six Indians. The Indian engineers were working on a project for construction of a Power Sub-Station and were kidnapped by the Taliban militants from Cheshma-e-Sher area. For reconstruction activities in Afghanistan, India has already provided financial aid of USD 2 billion. Click here to read...

Al-Qaeda fighters killed in an airstrike in Ghazni province

At least 31 terrorists, many of them believed to belong to Al-Qaeda, were killed in an airstrike in Ghazni province on 20 March. According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defence, one of the Al-Qaeda’s facilitators was moving 30 terrorists from another location when their convoy was targeted in the airstrike. Click here to read...

IS claimed attack on Shiite shrine in Kabul

Islamic State militants (IS) claimed the responsibility of an attack on occasion of Nowruz, the Persian Iranian New Year, at Shiite Shrine in Kabul on 21 March, which killed six people and injured 20 others. IS released a statement which claimed, that the “aim of attack was to spoil the ritual of polytheists.” Click here to read...

Pakistan- Germany supports listing of Masood Azhar as a terrorist in EU

After French government froze the assets of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Germany announced its support to label Masood Azhar as an international terrorist in the European Union (EU). Spokesperson of the German Embassy in India, Hans Christian Winkler, confirmed the discussion going on in the EU on listing Masood Azhar as a terrorist, and ‘Germany is approaching positively towards this decision with the coordination from France’. Click here to read...

Chad- Boko Haram killed 23 Chadian soldiers

On 22 March, Boko Haram militants attacked and killed 23 Chadian soldiers in the town of Dangdala in Chad. The militants are believed to have crossed the border from Niger before attacking Chadian soldiers. Chadian soldiers are part of US-trained West African Task Force (WATF) deployed to counter Boko Haram. Click here to read...

Mali- JNIM claimed Mali army base attack

A Mali-based al-Qaeda affiliate terrorist group, Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), claimed responsibility for an attack on Mali’s Army base in which 23 soldiers were martyred. Different groups affiliated to Al-Qaeda and IS use central and northern Mali as a launch-pad across the region. Click here to read...

CT personnel arrested 13 suspected militants from Sabah

On 11-12 March, the Counter-terrorism (CT) division of Malaysia police and other elite units arrested 13 suspected militants of different terrorist groups, including Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), for their involvement in 2017 Marawi siege to turn the city into an IS province. During the CT operation, 12 Filipinos and one Malaysian, were arrested from Sabah state. According to the police, the accused either belonged to ASG, Maute combatants or the Royal Sulu Force (RSF). Some of them were providing protection to the foreign fighters hiding in Sabah. Click here to read...

New Zealand- Three Indians among others killed in mosque attacks in Christchurch

In two separate terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch on 15 March, three Indians among other 50 people, were killed. Two persons, Farhaj Ahsan (31 years) and Mohammad Imran Khan, were residents of Telangana, and Anzi Ali Bhava (27 years) was a resident of Kerala. In the first shooting at Al-Noor Mosque, gunman, Brenton Tarrant (28 years) live-streamed the attack using head-mounted camera. Brenton indiscriminately opened fire on men, women, and children from ‘close-range’ inside the mosque. In the second attack, the same gunman drove nearby Linwood Mosque and carried out the attack. After a while, Brenton ran away in his car. Two police officers chased and arrested the gunman [Brenton]. Military neutralised two IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) seized from Brenton’s car. Click here to read...

Jammu and Kashmir
ED attaches 13 properties of seven HM operatives

In an investigation of terror-financing, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached 13 properties of seven operatives of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The investigation was based on the Charge Sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the accused. HM, led by its chief Syed Salahuddin, carries out terror acts using funds organised by a trust, Jammu & Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust’, with alleged support from Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). Investigation revealed that the funds used to be transferred through Hawala and distributed to the kin of HM operatives. Click here to read...

Security forces arrested three JeM operatives from Srinagar-Baramulla road

On 25 March, security forces arrested three terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Rayees Hurrah, Shahid Bhat, and Ishaq Lone, at Lawaypora on Srinagar-Baramulla road. Police seized live ammunition, including five rounds from their possession. Click here to read...

Six terrorists were killed in exchange of fire at three locations

On 22 March, six terrorists were killed during counter-terrorism operations at three different locations in Kashmir. In first operation, security forces killed two terrorists, including a commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Mir Mohalla area of Bandipora district. In the second operation at Imam Sahib area in Shopian district, the security forces killed two terrorists during the exchange of fire. In another incident, two terrorists were killed during exchange of fire at Warpora area in Sopore of Baramulla district. Click here to read...

Government of India banns JKLF organisation

As part of the continuing crack down on terrorist groups instigating terror in Kashmir, the Government of India on 22 March, banned one of the Hurriyat Conference leader Yasin Malik’s organisation, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], 1967. Earlier in March, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami J&K for five years for being in ‘close contact’ with terrorist groups. Click here to read...

JeM operative arrested in Delhi

Delhi Police’s Special Cell officials on 21 March, JeM operative, Sajjad Ahmed Khan (27 years), from Red Fort area in Old Delhi. Sajjad was working as a shawl vendor in Delhi. According to the Police, he was sent to Delhi to establish sleeper cells and to recruit youths for JeM. Sajjad was close associate of Mudassir Khan (mastermind of Pulwama attack). Sajjad’s two brothers, Ishfaq Ahmed Khan and Showkat were also JeM operatives and were killed in counterterrorism operation in 2018. Click here to read...

Security forces killed four terrorists in Shopian and Kupwara

In a gun-battle with security forces on 28 March, three terrorists were killed in Kellar area in Shopian district. The exchange of fire started early morning when the joint team of CRPF, Army, and J&K Police was attacked by the terrorists during the search operation in the area. According to media report, the terrorists belonged to the HM and LeT, and were identified as Sajad Khanday, Aqib Ahmad Dar, and Basharat Ahmad Mir.

In another exchange of fire, security forces killed Danish Ahmad Dar—terrorist of JeM, in Yaroo village in Kupwara district. Click here to read...

HM terrorist arrested from Anantnag

In a joint operation, security forces, including J&K police on 28 March, arrested Rameez Ahmad Dar, an alleged terrorist of HM, from Bijbehara area in Anantnag district. Arms and ammunitions were also recovered from Rameez’s possession. Click here to read...

Left-Wing Extremism
Security Forces killed four Maoists in Sukma

In a gun-battle with CRPF’s CoBRA unit on 26 March, four Maoists were killed in Jagargunda area in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. Along with four bodies of Maoists, security force personnel recovered an INSAS rifle, and two 303 rifles. Click here to read...

NIA forms an exclusive cell to deal in LWE/Maoists cases

To further increase the efficiency in dealing with LWE (Left-Wing Extremism) or Maoists related case, the NIA has established a new cell along with 22 new posts with other 75 sanctioned posts for the NIA Headquarters in Delhi.

North-East Conflict
Prospects of Naga Framework Agreement

The Central Government’s main interlocutor in Nagaland, R N Ravi, visited the State to tie the loose ends of the Naga Framework Agreement (NFA) which was signed in August 2015. Since then Shri Ravi held number of meetings with Naga political group to understand the ‘genuine’ concerns and to seek best possible solution to the long-standing Naga conflict. Click here to read...

Khalistan-Inspired Extremism
Pakistan names Khalistan sympathiser for Kartarpur pilgrims’ Committee

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ch. Fawad Hussain, announced on 27 March, a special 10-member committee of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) which will include Gopal Singh Chawla. The committee will help facilitate the visit of Indian pilgrims at Kartarpur Sahib on occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. Reportedly, Gopal Singh Chawla is a Khalistan sympathiser and has close ties with the chief of LeT Hafiz Saeed. After minister Fawad’s statement, Gopal Singh Chawla posted a message on his Facebook account stating — “Chawla as voice of freedom of Khalistan and Kashmir”. Click here to read...

KCF & KZF terrorist arrested in Jalandhar

On 28 March, police arrested a pro-Khalistan ‘wanted’ terrorist, Amrik Singh aka Manga, now a Ugandan national, from Sarih village in Jalandhar. Amrik Singh was an operative of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) and Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF). According to the statement by Additional Inspector-General (AIG) of Counter-Intelligence, H S Khakh, Amrik was a wanted terrorist for his involvement in twin blasts at Jalandhar bus terminus on 28 April, and 24 May 2006. The bomb blasts were carried out by Satnam Singh aka Satta Lasuri. Amrik Singh had provided assistance to Pakistan-based KZF commander, Ranjeet Singh Neeta and US-based Balwinder Singh Possi, to execute twin blasts at Jalandhar bus terminus. Amrik was involved in the extremist activities between 1992 and 1995, and later fled to Uganda. In 2012, He was arrested by the Uganda police in a case of human trafficking and was jailed for four years. In January 2017, he reached his village in India via Nepal and was staying illegally in his village since then. Click here to read...

Cyber and Artificial Intelligence (Security Perspective)
JeM uses ‘Textnow’ app for recruitment

The probing of arrested accused Sajjad Khan has revealed that JeM uses a mobile-communication application, Textnow, for recruitment purposes. Sajjad Khan, a close associate of Mudassir Ahmed Khan (Pulwama attack master mind), has also confirmed that he was in contact with other terrorists through Textnow. Sajjad was arrested on 21 March from Red Fort area in Delhi. Click here to read...

Facebook’s AI failed to detect NZ shooting video

Facebook’s Vice-President of Integrity, Guy Rosen has admitted that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems failed to automatically detect and take-down the live-streaming of New Zealand Mosque attack video. AI has made rapid development and assisted Facebook to remove the majority of content, but this time it failed, said Rosen. It is difficult for AI to detect the difference between live-streaming attack and ‘visually similar’ content such as live-streamed video games. Click here to read...

Counter-terrorism Dialogue
India-US Counter-terrorism JWG and Designations Dialogue

In the 16th meeting of the India-US Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group (JWG), and the second session of the India-US Designations Dialogue held in Washington DC on 29 March, the officials discussed counter-terrorism cooperation between the two nations, as well the concerns over cross-border terrorism in the South Asia region, as an important aspect of their bilateral relations. Official on both sides agreed on the urgent need for Pakistan to take meaningful and stringent action against terrorists groups. Some of the other important topics discussed included terrorists using Internet, financial operations of terrorist organisations, rehabilitating, and reintegrating of the returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF). Click here to read...

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