VIF News Digest: National Security- Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-31 October, 2019
  • Indo Maldives Joint Exercise EKUVERIN – 2019;
  • Indo-French Joint Exercise Shakti-2019;
  • Government committed to bolstering border infrastructure: Col Chewang Rinchen bridge inaugurated;
  • Defence Acquisition Council gives a big impetus to indigenous industry;
  • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh lauds indigenisation efforts of Navy in safeguarding maritime security;
  • Two Open General Export Licences in a major push for defence exports approved;
  • Curtain Raiser: 2019;
  • Naval Commanders' Conference 2019/2 concludes.
International Terrorism:
  • Islamic State ‘Caliph’ al-Baghdadi killed in US raid.
  • 62 people were killed in Mosque bombing in Nangarhar province.
  • Ahead of FATF meet, Pakistan arrests four top leaders of JuD/LeT;
  • FATF warns Pakistan to stop terror-funding in next four months;
  • Splinter groups of AQIS regrouping in Pakistan, claims CTD;
  • US pressure in Pakistan to continue to act against terrorist organisations.
Domestic Terrorism:
Jammu and Kashmir
  • J&K police arrest two HM terrorists from Ganderbal;
  • Security forces kill three LeT terrorists in Anantnag;
  • AGuH chief Hamid Lelhari killed in Pulwama;
  • Terrorists kill two truck drivers in Shopian.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • Naxals getting organised funds to spread terror in India, claims NIA;

  • Police names 13 organisations in Telangana as Maoist fronts.
Islamist Extremism in India (including Islamic State)
  • Fighting terrorism is not enough, cut terror funds, said NSA Doval;
  • So far, 127 people linked with Islamic State arrested by NIA;
  • JMB’s sleeper cells active in Karnataka, says Karnataka Home Minister.
Khalistan-Inspired Extremism
  • Pakistan’s ISI forms new terror group ‘KKRF’, warn Intelligence agencies;
  • Central Govt. gives nod to JCTOC in Punjab.
Cyber & Artificial Intelligence (Security Perspective)
  • 63 percent of Indian businesses are concerned of cyber-threat due to human-error- a research report.
Indo-Maldives Joint Exercise EKUVERIN – 2019

Indo-Maldives joint exercise Ex EKUVERIN–2019 culminated on 20 October 2019 with an impressive closing ceremony held at Foreign Training Node, Aundh Military Station, Pune. The 14 days military event that commenced on 07 October 2019 included joint training in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in semi urban environment, developing interoperability and cohesion between both the contingents. As part of validation exercise held on 20 October 2019, troops of both the armies carried out specialised joint counter-terrorist operations which was witnessed by dignitaries of both the armies. The troops shared best practices being followed by both nations in varied terrain and the exercise provided an opportunity to both the armies for greater understanding and strengthening mutual trust and cooperation.

The validation exercise was reviewed by Major General JJ Mathews of the Indian Army in presence of the Maldivian side represented by Brigadier General Waise Waheed. Click here to read...

Indo-French Joint Exercise Shakti-2019

Biennial exercise SHAKTI' between India and France that commenced in year 2011 and is alternately held in India and France, was conducted this year at the Foreign Training Node at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges, Rajasthan. A contingent of the Sikh Regiment of Sapta Shakti Command will represent Indian Army in this exercise. The French Army delegation will be represented by troops of 21st Marine Infantry Regiment of 6th Armoured Brigade. The exercise is being conducted from 31 October 2019 to 13 November 2019.

The joint exercise, under United Nations Mandate, will focus on Counter-Terrorism operations in the backdrop of semi-desert terrain. It will focus primarily on high degree of physical fitness, sharing of drill at tactical level and learning of best practices from each other, enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the two Armies. Click here to read...

Government committed to bolstering border infrastructure: Col Chewang Rinchen bridge inaugurated

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh reiterated the Government’s unwavering commitment to bolster border infrastructure to effectively deal with any threats that undermine the peace and tranquillity in the country. He was inaugurating strategically important ‘Col Chewang Rinchen Setu’, a bridge built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) over River Shyok, connecting Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldie in Eastern Ladakh, on 21 October 2019. It is a 430-metre bridge built at an altitude of about 15,000 feet using Micro Piling Technology. The construction was completed in record time within 15 months.

Describing the bridge as a symbol of the Government’s resolve of positive change and all-round development of the nation. He said, the bridge not only connects Durbuk with Daulat Beg Oldie but also links the people of Ladakh and all interior areas of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country. “Through initiatives like these, the people of this region will have the opportunity to become part of India’s growth story”, Shri Rajnath Singh hoped. “Keeping in view the current security situation, strengthening our borders is the need of the hour. Border area development is an integral part of our Government’s plan and this bridge is a part of that strategy”, Raksha Mantri said.

Raksha Mantri added, “Kashmir is India’s internal and integral matter. With the decision to make Ladakh a separate Union Territory, the Government has fulfilled the long-pending demand of the people. This will open new doors of development in the region. “Like the rest of the country, Ladakh will now become a destination for investment. There will also be a boost in revenue generation and employment opportunities for local people”, he further added.

Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, DG BRO Lt Gen Harpal Singh, Ladakh Member of Parliament Shri Jamyang Tsering Namgyal and other senior officers of Army, BRO and Ministry of Defence were present on the occasion. Click here to read...

Defence Acquisition Council Chaired by Raksha Mantri gives a big impetus to indigenous industry

The Defence Acquisition Council meeting (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, met in Delhi on 21 October 2019 and approved Capital Procurement for the Defence forces amounting over Rs. 3300 crores of indigenously designed and developed equipment. Maintaining its impetus on the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the DAC accorded approval for three projects to be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian industry. The first two projects include third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and the Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) for the T-72 and T-90 Tanks. While the third generation ATGM would provide ‘Fire and Forget’ and ‘Top Attack’ capabilities to the troops in an armoured battle. Both these projects will be progressed under the ‘Make-II’ Category and will provide a boost to indigenous research and development in the Private Sector. With this, for the first time the Ministry of Defence has offered complex Military equipment to be designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian private industry. The third indigenous project pertains to discrete Electronic Warfare (EW) systems for the mountain and High Altitude terrain, which would be designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by design cum production partner from the Indian industry. Click here to read...

Raksha Mantri lauds indigenisation efforts of Navy in safeguarding maritime security

Addressing the Naval Commanders’ Conference on 24 October 2019 in New Delhi, Defence Minister said that after visiting various naval ships, submarines and establishments, including IMAC (Information Management and Analysis Centre), and having witnessed a wide range of naval operations at Sea, he was confident that the Indian Navy would continue to perform the duty of safeguarding the maritime interests of the nation.
Raksha Mantri said, for economic progress there was a requirement for a stable and balanced environment in which Navy has a crucial role to play in the form of safeguarding the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) – the economic lifeline. He specifically mentioned the calibrated manner in which the Navy launched 'Operation Sankalp', in wake of the incidents involving attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June this year. Escorting Indian Flagged Merchant Vessels through this energy lifeline of the country during ‘Operation Sankalp’, the Navy has emphatically reiterated its ability to defend India’s critical national interests.

In the context of terrorists using sea routes as in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the minister said that the Navy has made concerted efforts to strengthen security and stability of our waters and coastal regions, and enhance inter-agency cooperation and coordination. He urged the Naval Commanders to continue reviewing procedures to strengthen the Coastal Security framework.

Shri Rajnath Singh also complimented the Navy for the efficient Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations undertaken in the recent past, both on Indian and foreign shores convincing him on the reach, mobility, sustenance and persistence of the Indian Navy, and its ability to undertake operations not only within the country, but in the entire Indian Ocean Region, in peace and during war. Appreciating the Navy’s Foreign Cooperation initiatives and sustained efforts at capability enhancement and capacity building of Foreign Navies, he stated that these initiatives have not only strengthened maritime security and stability in the region, but have also resulted in transforming the Indian Navy into a Preferred Partner for engagement in the Indian Ocean Region.

Speaking on the announcement by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the CDS (Chief of Defence Staff), the Raksha Mantri stated that this would also improve the overall coordination amongst the three services. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh; Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar; Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Naval Commanders and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence were present on the occasion. Click here to read...

In a major push for defence exports, two Open General Export Licences approved

Raksha Mantri has approved issuance of two Open General Export Licences (OGELs) for export of certain parts & components and intra-company transfer of technology to select countries. It will give a boost to defence exports. The application for grant of OGEL will be considered by Department of Defence Production (DPP) on a case-to-case basis. Click here to read...

The countries included under the OGELs are: Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA, Canada, Italy, Poland and Mexico. Export of items to a ‘Special Economic Zone’ is not permitted. The items permitted under OGEL includes components of ammunition & fuse setting device without energetic and explosive material; firing control & related alerting and warning equipment & related system; and body protective items. Complete aircraft or complete unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and any components specially designed or modified for UAVs are excluded under this licence. The transfer of technology to the countries will be subject to the condition that the export is an intra-company transfer from an Indian subsidiary (applicant exporter) to its foreign parent company and/or to subsidiaries of the foreign parent company. Click here to read...

India has made significant strides in improving its defence exports. These have grown seven-fold over the last two years and reached to Rs 10,500 crore in 2018-19. This has been made possible due to the reforms brought in the standard operating procedure and ushering in a portal for online clearance of applications. The processing time has been brought down significantly. Click here to read...

Curtain Raiser: DEFCOM 2019

DEFCOM 2019 Seminar, jointly organised by the Corps of Signals and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), will be held on 26 and 27 November 2019, New Delhi. The theme of the seminar will be, ‘Communications as a Decisive Catalyst for Jointness’. The curtain raiser ceremony for the event was held on 22 October 2019 at India Habitat Centre and attended by senior officers of the Indian armed forces, academia and industry. Lieutenant General Rajeev Sabherwal, Signal Officer-in-Chief released the brochure for the upcoming seminar. Lieutenant General JP Nehra (Retd), Principal Advisor (Defence) of CII highlighted the crucial role played by DEFCOM over the years in promoting collaboration between the armed forces and the industry in the Information and Communications Technology domain. Click here to read...

Naval Commanders' Conference - 2019/2 concludes

The second edition of bi-annual Naval Commanders’ Conference 2019 which commenced on 22 October 2019, concluded on 24 October 2019 after three days of fruitful deliberations. The Hon’ble RM addressed the Naval Commanders’ on 22 Oct 19 and complimented all personnel of the Indian Navy for maintaining a high operational tempo and safeguarding India’s interest in the maritime domain.

In his opening address to the Commanders’, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh highlighted various important issues pertaining to operational readiness, capability enhancement, maintenance, op logistics, infrastructure development and human resource management. He also drew attention to overcoming critical capability voids, whilst highlighting the requirement of three Aircraft Carriers so that at least one operational carrier is available on either seaboard at any given time, amongst other capability gaps, especially in light of the increasing mandate of IN in the IOR. Click here to read...

Islamic State ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed in US raid in Idlibv

On 26 October, the United States special operation forces conducted a raid and killed Islamic State’s (IS) leader and self-declared Caliph— Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a compound located in the village of Barisha in Idlib province of Syria. In the operation, reportedly, several IS terrorists/fighters were killed including two women wearing explosive vests and three children. However, eleven children were moved out to ‘safe zone’ uninjured, said US President Donald Trump, who made the announcement of killing of al-Baghdadi on 27 October. Click here to read...

62 people killed in Mosque bombing in Nangarhar province

On 18 October, a bomb explosion in a village mosque claimed 62 lives and injured 36 people who had gathered for Friday prayers in Nangarhar province. No terrorist organisation had claimed the attack, however, Taliban condemned it as ‘major crime’. Both terrorist organisations—Taliban and Islamic State (IS) have strong presence in the region. According to a report released by the United Nations (UN), since January 2019, around 647 people has been killed and 2,796 has been injured in various attacks in the country. Click here to read...

Ahead of FATF meet, Pakistan arrests four top leaders of JuD/LeT

On 10 October, Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies arrested key four leaders of proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat ud-Dawah (JuD) on charges of terror financing. The arrests were made ahead of the meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held in Paris, France from 12-15 October. The arrested leaders are identified as Professor Zafar Iqbal, Yahya Aziz, Muhammad Ashraf, and Abdul Salam. In June 2018, the FATF enlisted Pakistan in the ‘grey-list’ and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 else a risk of being placed on the ‘black-list’ joining Iran and North Korea. Click here to read...

FATF warned Pakistan to stop terror-funding in next four months

The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) on 18 October warned Pakistan of a strong action if the latter fails to stop funds to terrorist organisations in next four months. The FATF had set February 2020 as the deadline for Pakistan government to strengthen their legal framework to contain money laundering and terror-financing to terrorist organisations. If Pakistan fails to meet the requirements by the given deadline, the FATF would take severe actions, including urging other international financial institutions to be cautious while dealing with their counterparts based in Pakistan. Click here to read...

Splinter groups of AQIS are regrouping in Pakistan, claims CTD

On 14 October, Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) revealed that the groups affiliated with AQIS (al-Qa’ida in Indian Subcontinent) are regrouping in Karachi city to carry-out terrorist attacks. There are reports that six ‘disgruntled’ terrorists of AQIS had arrived in Karachi from Afghanistan, and are trying to activate the sleep cells, said CTD official Raja Umar Khattab. Click here to read...

US will continue its pressure on Pakistan to act against terrorist organisations

On 22 October 2019, through an official twitter handle of State Department for South and Central Asia, Assistant Secretary Alice G Wells said that the United States will continue to pressurise Pakistan to take action against terrorist groups—Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb ul-Mujahideen (HM). Pakistan’s Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan had acknowledged that terrorists who carry out attacks in Kashmir are enemies of both Kashmiris and Pakistan. Another US official (identity not disclosed) warned that Pakistani authorities shall remain accountable for the actions of terrorist groups like JeM and LeT which seek to provoke violence across the Line of Control (LoC). Click here to read...

Jammu and Kashmir
J&K police arrest two HM terrorists from Ganderbal

On 14 October, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police arrested two terrorists of Hizb ul-Mujahideen (HM)— Chandi Khatana, and Wajid Ali Khatana, from Ganderbal district. According to the police, both terrorists were involved in supplying logistics to other terrorists and guiding them for carrying out terror activities. Incriminating material, arms & ammunitions were recovered from their possession. Click here to read...

Security forces kill three LeT terrorists in Anantnag

On 16 October, Security forces killed three terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in a counter-terrorism operation in Bijbehara area in Anantnag district. The three were identified as Nasir Chandru, Aqib Hajam, and Zahid Hussain. Security forces recovered arms and ammunitions from the operation site. Click here to read...

AGuH chief Hamid Lelhari killed in Pulwamav

On 22 October, the security forces killed Zakir Musa’s successor and al-Qa’ida affiliated terrorist group Ansar Ghazwat ul-Hind (AGuH)’s newly appointed chief Hamid Lelhari and two of his associates (unidentified) in a counter-terrorism operation in Awantipora in Pulwama district. Hamid Lelhari was appointed as a new chief of AGuH after the death of Zakir Musa in a counter-terrorism (CT) operation May 2019.
In a separate CT operation in Tral in Pulwama district, security forces also killed three unidentified terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). Click here to read...

Terrorists kill two truck drivers in Shopian

On 24 October, terrorists belonging to an unknown group killed two truck drivers and injured their associates in Chittergam Kalan village in Shopian district. Terrorists also set ablaze the apple fruit boxes loaded for transportation to Delhi fruit market.

In a separate incident on 16 October, terrorists killed two apple buyers from Punjab, in Tranz area of Shopian district. Witnesses reported that terrorists killed the apple buyers on point blank range. Following the incidents, the government announced additional security measures for fruit traders being escorted to ‘safer’ locations by police and security forces. The terrorist attacks on fruit traders highlights the frustration among the terrorists to nail down the economic progress and peace in the valley. Click here to read...

Left-Wing Extremism
Naxals getting organised funds to spread terror in India, claimed NIA

On 14 October, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) revealed that Left-Wing Extremist (LWE) groups, spreading out in 10 States, are getting organised funds to finance their terror activities in India. The NIA Spokesperson— Inspector General of Police (IGP) Alok Mittal said that investigation of LWE cases revealed that the groups also indulge in extortion to supplement their income. Click here to read...

Police named 13 organisations in Telangana as Maoist fronts

On 11 October, the Hyderabad police named 13 organisations based in Telangana as fronts of the CPI-Maoist (Communist Party of India-Maoist). Addressing the Press, Hyderabad Commissioner of Police (CP) — Anjani Kumar said that these 13 organisations mostly work as NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) and Student Unions in Telangana. He further emphasised need for taking action against anyone associated with organisations such as the Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV)—a student body. Along with TVV, the other 12 organisations were listed as: Adivasi Vidyarthi Sangham (AVS), Chaitanya Mahila Sangham (CMS), Civil Liberties Committee (CLC), the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), Democratic Students Union (DSU), Human Rights Forum (HRF), Kula Nirmulana Porata Samithi (KNPS), Patriotic Democratic Movement (PDM), Praja Kala Mandali (PKM), Telangana Democratic Forum (TDF), and Telangana Praja Front (TPF). Click here to read...

Islamist Extremism in India (including Islamic State)
Fighting terrorism is not enough, need to cut terror funding - NSA Doval

Addressing the NIA (National Investigation Agency) meet on 14 October in New Delhi, India’s National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval emphasised on the importance of cutting terror-funding to contain terrorism. Referring to the immense pressure being applied by the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) on Pakistan, Doval said that support from a State to a criminal poses the biggest challenge. In our [India] case, Pakistan has made it as an instrument of its State policy. “One of the biggest pressures that has come on Pakistan is because of proceedings of the FATF in Paris, that probably no other action could have done,” said NSA Doval. Click here to read...

So far, 127 people linked with Islamic State arrested by NIA

On 14 October, NIA revealed that 127 people have so far been arrested for association with the Islamic State (IS) in India. Most of these arrests were made from Tamil Nadu (33), followed by Uttar Pradesh (19), Kerala (17), and Telangana (14). Till September 2019, the NIA had registered a total of 287 terrorism-related cases. Out of 287, 110 cases related to investigation under the NIA. Rest of 177 cases, the NIA registered 50 cases of insurgency in the North-East region of India, 48 cases of the Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs), 28 cases of Naxal/LWE incidents, 15 cases related to Khalistan-inspired extremism, a case of human trafficking, and rest of 35 cases of “miscellaneous” category. Click here to read...

JMB’s sleeper cells were active in Karnataka, said Karnataka Home Minister

On 18 October, Karnataka’s Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the NIA suspected the movements of Jamaat ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) terrorists in Bengaluru and Mysuru in Karnataka. It could have been that JMB sleeper cells were active in the region. Earlier in the week (14-19 October), minister Bommai had announced the establishment of Bengaluru’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) which would work in close connection with the NIA, and will be operational from 01 November 2019. Click here to read...

Khalistan-inspired Extremism
Pak ISI forms new terror group ‘KKRF’, warned Intelligence agencies

According to news report on 23 October, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) joined hands with existing pro-Khalistan groups and formed a new terror outfit focusing on K2 (Kashmir and Khalistan)— Kashmir Khalistan Referendum Front (KKRF). The new group KKRF aims to create unrest in J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) and Punjab and revival of terror activities in both the States. Pakistan is also trying to get pro-Khalistan supporters based in the United States, UK and Canada involved in this new venture. ISI would recruit youth for KKRF and will provide them training, arms and ammunitions to plan terror attacks in India, the report added. Click here to read...

Central Govt. gives nod to JCTOC in Punjab

On 22 October, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) gave approval to establishing the Joint Counter-Terrorism Operation Centre (JCTOC) in Punjab. The JCTOC will include officials from R&AW, IB, NIA, and the local Police as a part of its team. One of the aims is of JCTOC is to de-rail Pakistan’s K2 (Kashmir and Khalistan) propaganda. Apart from this, MHA is also considering setting up a regional hub of the National Security Guards (NSG) in Pathankot as it borders Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Click here to read...

Cyber & Artificial Intelligence (Security Perspective)
63 percent of Indian businesses are concerned over cyber-threat due to human-errors, claimed a research report

According to a report released by the ‘Future of Cyber Security in Asia Pacific and Japan-Culture, Efficiency, Awareness Report’ on 22 October, 63 percent of Indian businesses are concerned with the cyber-threat posed by their employees’ errors. “As the cyber-threat grows, the businesses are required to elevate their cyber-defence mechanisms which are synchronised with security solutions designed to strengthen their cyber-security structure,” said Managing Director (Sales) of Sophos India and SAARC. The organisation’s cyber security is not completely dependent on high-end security products but in corporate culture, employee education, claimed the report. Click here to read...

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