VIF News Digest: National Security- Defence Studies & Terrorism (Vol 2 Issue VI)

April 16 – 30, 2018

Contents

Defence

Conclusion of Exercise Gaganshakti-2018;

First Ever Joint Army exercise on Malaysian Soil Commences;

LCA Tejas Achieves yet another Milestone;

DAC Approves Capital Acquisition Proposals Worth Rs 3,687Crore.

International Terrorism

Anti-Daesh Operations in Ninveh;

Airstrikes against Daesh in Syria;

Afghanistan-Joint Special operation by ANA and US Special force at Balkh;

Terror strike in Kandahar Province;

Twin Suicide Bombing Kabul;

Voter Registration Bombing Kabul;

Pakistan-FIA Special Prosecutor removed;

Suicide Attack at Quetta;

Canada-Pro-Khalistan rally in Toronto;

Africa-Terror strike in Maiduguri.

Domestic Terrorism

Hawala operator arrested in Foreign Remittance Scam;

Jammu and Kashmir-Jaish Op Commander Mufti Yasir Killed;

Rising JeM footprints in Tral;

HM Commander Sameer Bhat Killed;

Left Wing Extremism-Gadchiroli anti-LWE Operation;

60 LWE Cadre Surrendered in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh.

Defence

Conclusion of Exercise Gaganshakti-2018
The Indian Air Force conducted pan India Exercise Gagan Shakti-2018 from 08-22 Apr 2018. The aim of the exercise was real-time coordination, deployment and employment of air power in a short and intense battle scenario. The exercise was conducted in two phases so that all Commands get adequate opportunity to test the efficacy of their preparedness. Re-deployment for Phase-II involved relocating the forces so as to be effective at the new locations within a short span of 48 hours. During the exercise, more than 11000 sorties were flown, which include approx. 9000 sorties by fighter aircraft. The operations were conducted in a Network Enabled scenario. IAF was able to achieve 80% serviceability of aircraft while radars and surface to air guided weapons maintained a serviceability of 97%. [Back to Contents ]

First Ever Joint Army exercise on Malaysian Soil Commences
Exercise Harimau Shakti 2018, between the Indian and the Malaysian Army, commenced on April 30 at Wardieburn Camp, Kuala Lumpur. The first phase of the two-week-long joint military exercise is a positive step in the bilateral relations between the two nations. The conduct of such exercises will enable mutual capacity enhancement and assist in building strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between India and Malaysia. [Back to Contents ]

LCA Tejas Achieves yet another Milestone

Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) successfully fired Derby Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile to expand the firing envelope. The missile was launched from LCA Tejas on April 27, 2018, from the firing range off the Goa coast. Tejas has been designed & developed by DRDO’s autonomous society – Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA). Integration of Derby, a BVR class missile, is one of the major objectives of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas. [Back to Contents ]

DAC Approves Capital Acquisition Proposals worth ₹ 3,687 cr
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), on April 27, 2018, accorded approval to Capital Acquisition Proposals of the Services valued at over ₹ 3,687 cr. This includes the DRDO designed and developed NAG Missile System (NAMIS) at the cost of ₹ 524 cr and thirteen 127 mm calibre guns for the Navy from BAE Systems of the United States of America under the categorisation of Buy (Global) at an approximate cost of over ₹ 3,000 cr. [Back to Contents ]

International Terrorism

Anti-Daesh Operations in Ninveh
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) conducted shelling over Al-Sabaya region of Iraq located in the border region between Iraq and Syria. In a statement, ISF claimed that many Daesh militants were killed during this attack. The Iraqi Syrian border region is manned jointly by ISF and border guards. Despite liberation of Iraq and Syria, Daesh remained a potent threat to the stability of Iraq. For More information - https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/several-islamic-state-militants-kille... [Back to Contents ]

Airstrikes against Daesh in Syria
The US-led ISF launched several airstrikes against the Daesh hideouts in Syria. It has weakened the military capabilities of Daesh but has not eliminated its threat. The Defence ministry of Iraq on April 30, 2018, clarified that it will continue with its airstrikes against Daesh locations in Syria. On the political front the Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari on April 26, 2018, called for Political Pluralism in Syria and strongly rejected foreign military intervention. He further highlighted the timely need to overcome single party system in Syria. Syria is ravaged by Russian supported troops of President Bashar Al_Assad and Daesh militants and Nusra front causing huge displacement within and outside Syria. The US, UK and France have launched airstrikes against sites believed to be Assad government’s reservoirs of chemical weapons.
For More information - https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraq-says-airstrikes-weakened-islamic... &
https://www.iraqinews.com/arab-world-news/iraq-calls-for-partisan-plural... [Back to Contents ]

Afghanistan

> Joint Special operation by ANA and US Special force at Balkh

In a joint operation conducted on April 29, 2018 by Afghan and US Special forces in Balkh Province, 35 Taliban terrorists were killed and nearly 40 injured. In support of these operations, the US Air Force conducted airstrikes on Taliban positions. The operation was named as Walid-5 which was conducted in Chahar Bolak district of the Balkh Province where the terrorists were targeting Arzankar village.
For More information - https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/35-militants-killed-in-joint-usa... [Back to Contents ]

Suicide Attack in Kandahar Province
In a suicide attack on a NATO convoy operating in southern Kandahar province, at least 12 people were killed and eight NATO troops of Romanian descent were severely injured on April 30, 2018. No terror group has so far claimed the responsibility of these attacks. For more information–
https://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2723861&Language=en [Back to Contents ]

Twin Suicide Bombing in Kabul
The City of Kabul once again witnessed twin suicide bombing on April 30, 2018 in which a total of 36 people were killed and 49 injured. Daesh claimed responsibility of these attacks. Indian Prime Minister immediately condemned these attacks and expressed his condolences to the grieving families through his tweet message.

The city of Kabul alone faced nearly 8 major terrorists attack in 2018.The rising incidence of terror strikes in the city is testing the capabilities of Afghan Security Forces and underscores their struggle to have faced different terror groups since US and NATO forces concluded their combat mission in 2014. The ongoing attacks by the Daesh terrorists differentiate themselves from routine Taliban attacks which are mainly targeting government offices and officials. The Daesh militants on the other hand tend to attack civilians from Shia Hazara community of Afghanistan. Many experts are of the opinion that Afghan fighters in Daesh are returning from Syria may be adding muscle to the Jihadi forces in Kabul and its vicinity. For more information – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/30/kabul-explosions-hit-city-... & https://www.dailyo.in/politics/afghanistan-kabul-twin-blasts-journalists... [Back to Contents ]

Bombing in Kabul during Voter Registration
Earlier on April 22, City of Kabul had witnessed a suicide bomber attack on a voter registration centre in Kabul in which at least 60 people were killed and nearly 129 injured. The place of attack is close to Dasht-e-Barchi known for a dense population of Shia Hazara minority. Daesh had also claimed responsibility for this attack by issuing a statement through its media agency Amaq. In this statement, Daesh strongly opposed the idea of holding democratic elections in Afghanistan. Legislative elections are scheduled in Afghanistan on October 20, 2018.
For more information-
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/22/dozens-dead-in-kabul-bombi... [Back to Contents ]

Pakistan

FIA Special Prosecutor Removed for not taking Government Line
The Interior Ministry of Pakistan abruptly removed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Special Prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar on April 29, 2018, for not taking government line. Chaudhry Azhar had been representing as a chief prosecution in the Mumbai terror attack case since 2009. The Anti-Terrorism Court has completed recording the statements in this case in 2016 and since then the weekly hearing, in this case, has progressed.
For more information –
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-removes-chie... [Back to Contents ]

Suicide Attacks in Quetta

A suicide bomber attacked Pakistani Police and troops on April 24, 2018, in the city of Quetta. In this attack, six Police officers have been killed and eight others were injured. Daesh has claimed the responsibility of the attack through an online statement issued by its media house Amaq. Similarly, in early morning on April 24, 2018, two other suicide attacks targeting police checkpoints took place on the outskirts of Quetta in which eight military personnel were severely injured.
For more information - https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/24/asia/quetta-suicide-attacks-intl/inde... [Back to Contents ]

Canada

Pro-Khalistan rally in Toronto
The Khalsa Day Parade was organised in Toronto, Canada on April 29, 2018. Khalistan Flags and Banners of Referendum 2020 for separate Sikh Homeland were seen in the event. Canadian Prime Minister skipped the event, however, leaders from his New Democratic Party (NDP) like Jagmeet Singh, Gurpatwant Pannun, Kathleen Wynne attended the event and addressed the gathering.
In recent past, the Khalsa Day Parade in Toronto came into limelight and turning out to be the hub for Babbar Khalsa a banned terrorist organisation known for its secessionist agenda. Arrests by Punjab Police in Mohali and Chandigarh in September 2017 stands testimony to it. Similar events were also organised around the world including in Birmingham in the UK, New Jersey, Manhattan, in the US, and in the state of Victoria in Australia.
For more information - https://littleindia.com/canada-pm-skips-khalsa-day-parade-in-toronto-thi... [Back to Contents ]

Africa

Terror strike in Maiduguri
The city of Maiduguri was shattered by suicide bombing on April 24, 2018, the second time in a period of one month. All five suicide bombers were killed by Nigerian troops in a swift response. Maiduguri the capital of Borno has been the worst hit city by terror strikes by Boko Haram and in this city alone more than 34,000 people have been killed since 2009. The city was earlier attacked on Easter Sunday (April 01, 2018) in which 15 people were killed and 83 people were severely injured.
The Government of Nigeria declared on March 25, 2018, that it is in talks with Boko Haram for a possible ceasefire with the ultimate aim of securing a permanent cessation of hostilities. The US Development Agency has released a map in February 2018 highlighting ISIS footprints in West Africa. It claimed that the faction of Boko Haram which has control over Borno and Yobe has strengthened its allegiance with ISIS.
For More information - https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001278426/at-least-four-killed-...
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-security/nigeria-talking-to-b...
https://english.manoramaonline.com/news/world/2018/05/01/mosque-blast-ni... [Back to Contents ]

Suicide Bomber Attacks Military Camp in Galkayo

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant close to Somalian Police Academy in the town of Galkayo on April 29, 2018. In this attack, four military officers of Somalia including a military commander and two colonels were killed. Galkayo is the Provincial capital of the divided Mudug region of Somalia where the northern part of the town is controlled by Puntland regional state and southern region is controlled by Galmudug regional state. Though no terror group has claimed responsibility, the attack reflects the hallmarks of al-Shabab.
For more information - http://allafrica.com/stories/201804290002.html
http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2018/04/suicide-bombing-in-somalia.html [Back to Contents ]

Domestic Terrorism<.strong>

Hawala operator arrested in Foreign Remittance Scam
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Hawala operator Mohammad Farooq at Chhatrapati Shivaji International (CSI) Airport, Mumbai on April 23, 2018 for his alleged involvement in Foreign Remittance Scam. Farooq is alleged to have laundered foreign remittance of ₹ 2,253 cr. involving 13 companies. Farooq has been remanded to ED custody. [Back to Contents ]

Jammu and Kashmir

Jaish Operational Commander Mufti Yasir Killed in Tral
The operational commander of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Mufti Yasir was killed in an intelligence-driven operation in Tral forest of Pulwama district on April 24, 2018. Yasir was the fifth commander of Jaish since June 2017 and was responsible for massive recruitment for JeM from Tral area. Yasir had replaced Mufti Waqas who was killed in March 2018. The latest edition of JeM’s mouthpiece Al Qalam has confirmed that total 37 JeM terrorists have been killed in Kashmir since June 2017.
For more information - http://indianexpress.com/article/india/masood-azhar-aide-among-four-mili... [Back to Contents ]

Rising JeM footprints in Tral
Tral which was once known as a hub for Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists has witnessed a change in terrorist dynamics from HM To JeM. At present most of the youth in the area are joining JeM. This further reflects the fading footprints of HM after the arrests of its top commander Tariq Pandit on May 24, 2017. The Lashkar-e-Taiyaaba (LeT) and HM have suffered heavily since summer of 2017. In its efforts, JeM is giving patronage to al-Umar. The recent rise in local support to JeM’s well-trained terrorists is a matter of concern. [Back to Contents ]

HM Commander Sameer Bhat Killed
In an intelligence-based operation Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) commander Sameer Bhat alias Tiger was killed on April 30, 2018, at Drabgam area of Pulwama district. Sameer was wanted in various terrorism-related cases and came into limelight after his photo with US M-4 carbine surfaced on the social media. Sameer, a chronic stone pelter, was earlier working as an Overground Worker (OGW) of HM and was arrested on March 24, 2016 and later released on March 29, 2016 after the residents of Tral disrupted the operation and pelted stones on the security forces. [Back to Contents ]

Left Wing Extremism (LWE)

Gadchiroli Anti-LWE Operation
In two different intelligence-driven operations, 37 LWE Cadres were killed by C60 Special-Anti Naxal Operations unit of Maharashtra Police and Central Reserve Police Force within the span of 48 hours in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. The first operation was executed near Kannur village in Tadgaon Area on April 22, 2018, and the second operation was conducted at Rajaram Khanla village in Aheri tehsil on April 23, 2018. As per Maharashtra Police, those killed belonged to the Permilli Dalam, Aheri Dalam, and Sirochi Dalam in Maharashtra. [Back to Contents ]

60 LWE Cadre Surrender in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh

60 LWE cadres including 13 minors and 20 women surrendered before Chhattisgarh Police at Narayanpur in Bastar region. The counter Naxal operations by CRPF in coordination with state police has provided an operational area dominance for the security forces which is paving the way for the comprehensive development of this region. Each surrendered LWE cadres were provided with an incentive of ₹ 10,000/- and will further be entitled for assistance under the surrender and rehabilitation scheme of Government of Chattisgarh. [Back to Contents ]