VIF News Digest: Defence, National Security and Terrorism (Vol 1 Issue IV)

December 1-15, 2017

Contents

Successful Launch of Akash Missile;
UN Peace keeping Training by Mobile Training Team of CUNPK;
Visit of Chief of the Air Staff to Sri Lanka;
Indian Navy’s Search and Rescue Operations - 'OCKHI';
INS Kalvari Commissioned into the Indian Navy;
Iraq announces end of Anti-Daesh Operations;
Russia and US to Withdraw Forces from Syria;
US-Another Daesh Inspired attack in Manhattan;
France to investigate Cement Giant Lagrage in terror financing case;
UK-Suicide terror attack to kill PM May foiled;
Africa-Boko Haram attack on Nigerian Soldiers;
Fedayeen attack in Somalia-17 killed;
J&K - Encounters at Handwara, Quazigund;
LWE- Six CPI-Marxist cadres killed in Telangana.

Defence

Successful Launch of Akash Missile

The Surface-to-Air Missile ‘AKASH’ with indigenous radio frequency seeker against target Banshee, was successfully launched from Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur. The Radars, telemetry and electro-optical systems along the coast have tracked and monitored all the health parameters of the missile. This missile is being inducted into Army as Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM). This is the first Surface to Air Missile with indigenous seeker that has been test fired. With this success, India has achieved the capability of making any type of Surface to Air Missile. [ Back to Contents ]

Opening Ceremony of The Indian UN Peace keeping Training by Mobile Training Team of CUNPK

The opening ceremony of the Indian UN Peace Keeping Training by Mobile Training Team (MTT) of the Centre for UN Peace Keeping (CUNPK) was conducted on 04 Dec 2017 at the Vietnamese Centre for Peace Keeping located at Thaach Hon, Hanoi. The training is to be conducted over two weeks by the MTT comprising four Indian Army Officers. This is in furtherance to the ongoing training assistance being extended to the Vietnamese Centre for Peace Keeping by the CUNPK, New Delhi. The Director, Vietnamese Centre for Peace Keeping acknowledged the extensive and robust contributions by India towards UN peace keeping efforts across the globe. [ Back to Contents ]

Visit of Chief of the Air Staff to Sri Lanka
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Chief of the Air Staff paid an official visit to Sri Lanka from 11 to 14 Dec 17 to discuss matters of mutual interest related to regional security. This visit of the Indian Air Chief would provide impetus towards increasing defence cooperation between the two Air Forces and pave the way for greater interaction in the future. This would also strengthen relationships, enable engagement in productive exchanges and promote understanding of joint issues and challenges.[ Back to Contents ]

Indian Navy’s Search and Rescue Operations - 'OCKHI'

Indian Navy's Search and Rescue (SAR) operations were in full swing over Southeast Arabian Sea in the aftermath of severe Cyclonic Storm 'OCKHI'. Eight naval ships, including frontline ships from Western Naval Command were deployed for rendering assistance to the affected islands. In addition, all aircrafts at the disposal of Southern Naval Command, including long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I of Eastern Naval Command, were deployed. [ Back to Contents ]

INS Kalvari Commissioned into the Indian Navy

Prime Minister Modi commissioned INS Kalvari (S-21), the first of the six Scorpene class submarines built under Project 75 (Kalvari Class) into the Indian Navy at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 14 December 2017. The event marked the formal induction into the Navy of the first of the six submarines being constructed at Mazagon Docks Ltd. (MDL), in collaboration with the French builder M/s Naval Group.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister said that India was fully alert with regard to its global, strategic and economic interests in the Indian Ocean. Congratulating the MDL for restarting the production line of submarines once again, Defense Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman, thanked the Yard workers, who she said “mattered high on this day”. The process of submarine construction has again been started in the country and it should not stop. She emphasized the need to avoid episodic starts and stops in the industry and maintain a pool of skills needed to build high technology platforms within the country, sustenance of which would lead to a virtuous cycle of betterment for Indian industry, retention of skills and better peace dividends to the nation. The commissioning will augment the offensive capability of the Indian Navy, and the Western Naval Command in particular. [ Back to Contents ]

International Terrorism

West Asia

Iraq Announces end of Anti-Daesh Operations

In a press conference on Dec 09, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced that Iraqi troops have gained complete control on the Iraqi-Syrian borders and end of military campaign again Daesh. Abadi praised the armed forces and the political leadership for their consistent support from the summer of 2014 in the war against Daesh militants. It may be recalled that the Iraqi forces had launched their military campaign in October 2016 to liberate Iraq from the clutches of Daesh militants.

Despite the end of the war, security analysts and military commanders warned that this however, did not mean the end of the Islamic State threat. Urgent challenges include reconstruction of major cities like Mosul, ensuring security and stability of its citizens, reconciliation of Sunni minority population with Shiite, rehabilitation of over three million displaced people, restoration of municipal services, reestablishment of basic needs such as medical, education facilities and most importantly, the great challenge to defeat the ‘virtual caliphate’ evolving worldwide through the Internet. [ Back to Contents ]

Russia and US to Withdraw Forces from Syria

On his first ever visit to the Russian airbase in Syria, Russian President Putin declared victory over the Daesh on December 11. The Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered Russian troops to withdraw from Syria. However, Russia confirmed that despite the withdrawal of troops, two Russian military bases will remain operational in the country. The US also, following the same policy will withdraw its troops, retaining some of its Marine establishments operational in Syria.

Though the city of Raqqa is liberated from Daesh militants, security experts believe that many militants have travelled to Europe, raising fears of renewed Daesh inspired attacks in Europe. Counter-terrorism officials in London, Paris and Berlin are concerned that the collapse of the Islamic State will encourage fighters to launch attacks in Europe. In Nov 2017, Andrew Parker, Director-General of MI5 warned of a dramatic shift in the threat from terrorism in the UK. [ Back to Contents ]

USA

Another Daesh inspired Attack in the Manhattans

On Dec 11, a Bangladeshi immigrant launched a suicide terrorist attack by detonating a pipe bomb strapped to his body in the heart of Manhattan’s busiest subway corridor. Though the bomb failed to fully detonate, the attacker, who was later identified as an Akayed Ullah, disrupted movements by terrifying commuters. Law enforcing agencies arrested and prosecuted Akayed Ullah. During his early deposition at New York court, Ullah admitted to having been inspired by Daesh ideology, and in retaliation to US airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria and elsewhere.

This was the third attack in New York City since September 2016, and the second in last two months, coming only weeks after eight people were killed in a truck attack along a Hudson River side bike path. All the three attacks were significantly perpetrated by ‘lone-wolf’ terrorist in line with the new directive of Daesh. [ Back to Contents ]

France

France to Investigate Cement Giant Lagrage in Terror Financing Case

The French investigator are looking into the involvement of former Chief Executive of Lafarge Hocim, the world’s largest cement manufacturer along with its top five officials, alleged financial assistance to Daesh and other armed factions while operating a factory in Syria. Olsen resigned as chief executive in Apr 2017, after an internal inquiry found that managers of Lafarge’s Syrian plant had paid armed groups to allow employees to move to and from the factory. [ Back to Contents ]

UK-Suicide Terror Attack to Kill PM May Foiled

UK’s internal intelligence agency, MI5 foiled a terror plot to assassinate UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Head of MI5 Andrew Parker, on Dec 05, 2017, informed the Cabinet, "It is, in essence, an extreme Islamist suicide plot against Downing Street. Essentially police believe that the plan was to launch some sort of improvised explosive device at Downing Street and in the ensuing chaos attack and kill Theresa May”. Two men have been arrested during raids in London and Birmingham and charged with terrorism offences. They were planning to carry a bomb disguised in a bag to blow off the gates of Downing Street and then attack the PM with knives. Parker further disclosed that the security services have foiled nine terrorist attacks on the UK in 2016 [ Back to Contents ]

Africa

Boko Haram attack on Nigerian Soldiers

Boko Haram militants attacked troop locations in Mainok Village of Borno state on Dec 13, 2017. In an official statement, the military command confirmed that causalities were recorded on both sides. It was observed that to repel this attack the Nigerian Air Force had scrambled its jets. [ Back to Contents ]

Fedayeen Attack in Somalia - 17 Killed

A militant of Al-Shabab carried out suicide bomb at the Police academy in Mogadishu, Somalia on Dec 14, 2017, killing 17 people and injuring 20. The Somalia-based group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabab has become the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa and is increasingly targeted by the U.S. military after the Trump administration early this year approved expanded airstrikes and other efforts against the fighters. The US has carried out at least 32 drone strikes this year against Al-Shabab and a small but growing number of fighters linked to the Islamic State group, many of them defectors from al-Shabab. Al-Shabab, which is allied to Al-Qaeda, carries out frequent bombings and attacks against hotels, checkpoints and other high-profile areas of Mogadishu.

On Dec 12, 2017, US Africa Command (AFCOM) carried out a drone strike against an Al-Shabab vehicle carrying explosives and claimed to have prevented an “imminent threat to the people of Mogadishu”. [ Back to Contents ]

Domestic Terrorism

Encounters in Jammu and Kashmir

Handwara Operation

In an intelligence-driven joint operation of the Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and J&K Police on Dec 12, 2017, three Lashkar (LeT) terrorist were killed Unisoo area in Handwara. J&K Police confirmed that the identities of all the three terrorists were confirmed as of Pakistani origin. Three AK-47 rifles along with ammunition were recovered from the operation site. During the operation, a local women died in cross firing leading to agitation led by independent legislator Rashid Engineer, who is under investigation of the NIA regarding terror funding case. [ Back to Contents ]

Quazigund Encounter

On Dec 05, 2017, another three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed by the security forces in a fierce gun battle at Qazigund on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The fourth terrorist Rashid Ahmed Allai of Hamzapora Sangam Bijibehera managed to escape but was also subsequently arrested from Anantnag district on Dec 06, 2017. The police identified the dead terrorists as Yawar Basir, a local, and Abu Furqan and Abu Maviya - both foreign terrorists. Abu Furqan had taken over as the head of LeT in South Kashmir after the death of Abu Ismail, who had led the attack on Amarnath pilgrims in July this year. One soldier was killed and another injured in the operation.

Over Ground LeT Supporter Arrested

In a intelligence driven joint operation by Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF and J&K Police, one Overground Worker (OGW) of LeT, Rayaz Ahmed Khal alias Bita Khan @ Baba was arrested in Hajin Area of Handwara. One AK-56 rifle, 2 magazines, 25 live rounds of AK-56 one spare Butt along with wire cutter were recovered from this hideout. [ Back to Contents ]

Left Wing Extremism (LWE)

Six CPI-Marxist Cadres Killed in Telangana

The Telangana Police, on Dec 14, 2017 neutralised six cadres of the Communist Party of India-Marxist in the forest area of Tekulpally subdivision of Bhadradri district. [ Back to Contents ]