VIF News Digest: National Security - Defence Studies & Terrorism, 15-31 March 2021
Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF

DEFENCE

  • Indigenisation and self-reliance in the defence sector.
  • Indian Naval Landing Craft Utility L58 Commissioned at Port Blair.
  • Contract with BDL to supply Anti-Tank Guided Missiles.
  • Salient Points of the Statement by Raksha Mantri after bilateral talks with US Defence Secretary. New Inventions by DRDO.
  • Indigenous designing and manufacturing of defence system.
  • Contract with MDSL to supply Light Specialist Vehicles.
  • Mission Sagar IV at Port Ehoala (Madagascar).
  • Minister of National Defence of Republic of Korea to visit India from March 25-27, 2021.
  • 7th Staff Talks between Indian Navy and Bangladesh Navy.
  • Webinar with Chile on Defence Industry Global Outreach.
  • Exercise Desert Flag-VI.
  • Indian and US Special Forces Conclude Joint Training Exercise.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Yemen
  • Al-Qaeda attacked military post in Abyan province.
Afghanistan
  • Taliban vow to restore Islamic rule in Afghanistan.
  • Terrorists killed three women healthcare workers in Nangarhar province.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • NIA court sentenced LeT terrorist to ten years imprisonment in 2016 LeT conspiracy case.
  • “Sticky bombs are challenge to security forces in Kashmir,” said IGP Kashmir Range.
  • Security forces eliminated four LeT terrorists in Shopian.
  • Left-Wing Extremism
    • Maoists killed a villager in Chhattisgarh.
    • Security forces eliminated four Maoists in Bihar.
    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    • NIA filed charge-sheet against seven Khalistani operatives.
    Islamic Extremism
    • NIA raided 11 locations in Delhi, Kerala and Karnataka in connection to IS module.
    CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)
    • “India’s Cyber Security critical for its growth,” said India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator
    • Cyber-attacks impacted 52 per cent of organisation in India over the last 12 months

    Defence

    Indigenisation and self-reliance in the defence sector.

    The Government is working on Second ‘Positive Indigenisation List’ as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan on domestic procurements.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Indian Naval Landing Craft Utility L58 Commissioned at Port Blair.

    Indian Naval Landing Craft Utility (LCU) L58, the eighth and last ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mark IV Class, was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands on March 18, 2021.The LCU 58 is an amphibious ship which can carry 160 troops, in addition to its crew. With a displacement of 900 tons, the ship is capable of carrying various types of combat vehicles such as Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), BMPs, Armoured Vehicles, trucks, etc. The ship measures 63 meters in length and is fitted with two MTA 4,000 series engines, which are capable of propelling the ship at speeds of up to 15 knots (28 kmph). It would be based at Port Blair and will be deployed in a variety of roles such as Beaching, Search and Rescue, Disaster Relief, Coastal Patrol and Surveillance operations along the Andaman and Nicobar Group of Islands, Bay of Bengal and in the Indian Ocean.

    Contract with BDL to supply Anti-Tank Guided Missiles.

    Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for supply of 4,960 MILAN-2T Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) to Indian Army at a cost of Rs 1,188 crore, in New Delhi on March 19, 2021. This will further boost the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government. It is a ‘Repeat Order’ of contract, which was signed with BDL on March 08, 2016.The Milan-2T is a Tandem Warhead ATGM with the range of 1,850 meters, produced by BDL under license from MBDA Missile Systems, France.

    Salient Points of the Statement by Raksha Mantri(RM) after bilateral talks with US Defence Secretary.

    The RM said “We are keen to work together to realise the full potential of the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. Our discussions today focussed on our wide ranging defence cooperation and expanding military-to-military engagement across services, information sharing, cooperation in emerging sectors of defence, and mutual logistics support. We reviewed the wide gamut of bilateral and multilateral exercises and agreed to pursue enhanced cooperation with the US Indo-Pacific Command, Central Command and Africa Command. Acknowledging that we have in place the foundational agreements, LEMOA, COMCASA and BECA, we discussed steps to be taken to realise their full potential for mutual benefit.” He further stated “The recent Leaders’ Summit of India, USA, Japan and Australia under the Quad framework emphasized our resolve to maintain a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. We discussed the need for enhanced capacity building to address some of the non-traditional challenges such as oil spills and environment disasters, drug trafficking, Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) fishing, etc.”
    For more information: Click here to read...

    New Inventions by DRDO.

    During the past 3 years, 79 projects amounting to Rs.8201 Crores directly pertaining to development of new defence equipments i.e. Cruise Missile, Anti-Ship Missile, Surface-to-Air Missile, Air-to-Air Missile, Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket, Mounted Gun System, Ammunitions, Electronic Warfare System, Radars, Torpedoes, High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicle etc. have been undertaken. Many DRDO developed technologies such as Battle Field Surveillance Rader (BFSR), Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC) Jammers, 5.56 mm Rifle, 40 mm Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBRL), Oleo Resin (OR) Grenade etc are being utilized by the State Police.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Contract with MDSL to supply Light Specialist Vehicles

    Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd (MDSL) for supply of 1,300 Light Specialist Vehicles to the Indian Army, at a cost of Rs 1,056 crore, in New Delhi on March 22, 2021. The induction of vehicles is planned to be completed in four years.The Light Specialist Vehicle is a modern fighting vehicle and will be authorised to various fighting units for carriage of Medium Machine Guns, Automatic Grenade Launchers as well as Anti-tank Guided Missiles. The Light Specialist Vehicle is indigenously designed and developed by MDSL. These combat vehicles are extremely agile with all round protection against small arms fire and will assist small independent detachments which are required to operate this weapon platform in the operational area. This is a flagship project showcasing the indigenous manufacturing capabilities of the defence industry and will add another milestone to the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’ and ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government.

    Mission Sagar IV at Port Ehoala (Madagascar)

    Indian Naval Ship Jalashwa arrived at Port Ehoala, Madagascar on 22 March 2021. The ship will deliver a consignment of 1,000 Metric Tonne of rice and 100,000 Hydroxychloroquine tablets in response to an appeal made by Madagascar for assistance to deal with natural calamities.An official ceremony for handing over the aid from the Government of India to Government of Madagascar was held on 23 March 2021.

    Minister of National Defence of Republic of Korea to visit India from March 25-27, 2021

    Minister of National Defence of Republic of Korea (RoK) Mr Suh Wook was on a visit to India from March 25-27, 2021. During the visit, the dignitary held bilateral meeting with Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and discussed India–RoK defence cooperation along with other regional and international issues of mutual interest.

    7th Staff Talks between Indian Navy and Bangladesh Navy

    Bolstering existing defence relations between India and Bangladesh in the maritime domain, 7th Staff Talks between Indian Navy and Bangladesh Navy were conducted from 23 to 25 March 2021 at New Delhi.

    Webinar with Chile on Defence Industry Global Outreach

    A webinar between India and Chile was held on 25 March 2021. The Theme of webinar was “Indian Defence Industry Global Outreach for Collaborative Partnership: Webinar and Expo”. It was organized under the aegis of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence through Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM). Secretary (Defence Production) highlighted the strong capabilities of Indian defence industry in various fields and their willingness to collaborate with Chilean defence companies for co-development and co-production in the areas of mutual interest. He further stated that Indian defence industry is keen to participate in the bidding procurement process of Chilean Armed Forces.

    Indian companies L&T, Bharat Forge, Goa Shipyard Limited, HAL, Mahindra Defence, MKU, OFB and Tata Advanced Systems made presentations on major defence platforms and products. From Chilean side FAMAE/S2T, ASMAR/SISDEF and ENAER/DTS made company presentations.The webinar was attended by more than 130 delegates. More than 100 virtual exhibition stalls from Indian companies were set up.

    Exercise Desert Flag-VI

    Ex Desert Flag is an annual multi-lateral large force employment exercise hosted by UAE. The sixth edition of the exercise was conducted from 04 Mar to 27 Mar 21 at Air Force Base Al Dhafra, UAE. IAF participated in the exercise for the first time, fielding Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. Six countries; UAE, USA, France, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain apart from India participated with aerial assets. Jordan, Greece, Qatar, Egypt and South Korea participated as observer forces.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Afghanistan
    Taliban vow to restore Islamic rule in Afghanistan

    Taliban, on 19 March, warned the United States (US) administration against defying “01 May” deadline for the withdrawal of the US troops and NATO troops from Afghanistan, promising a “reaction” in form of increased attacks by the terrorist group. A member of Taliban negotiation team—Suhail Shaheen said that the “Taliban were firm on their demand for an Islamic government, and the government of President Ashraf Ghani would not fit their definition of an Islamic government.”
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Terrorists killed three women healthcare workers in Nangarhar province

    In two separate incidents on 30 March, unidentified terrorists killed three women healthcare workers administering polio vaccine, in Nangarhar province. Two women were shot and killed in District 7 and the third in District 4. No terrorist group claimed the responsibility. Several attacks have gone unclaimed. The government blames most attacks on Taliban, who today hold sway over nearly half the country. The Taliban, in turn, deny any role in some of the attacks and blame the government.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    DOMESTIC TERRORISM

    Jammu and Kashmir
    NIA court sentenced LeT terrorist to 10 years imprisonment in 2016 LeT conspiracy case

    On 26 March, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court, Patiala House Courts in Delhi, sentenced Bahadur Ali aka Saifullah Mansoor—Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist and Pakistan national, to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and fine. Bahadur Ali was convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], Arms Act, Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act, Foreigners Act, and Indian Wireless Telegraphy (IWT) Act.

    The case was related to a larger conspiracy hatched by LeT to commit terror attacks in India. As a part of conspiracy, Bahadur Ali and two of his associates—Abu Saad and Abu Darda, had infiltrated in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with intentions to carry-out attacks at different places in India, including Delhi.
    For more information:
    Click here to read...

    “Sticky bombs are challenge to security forces in Kashmir,” said IGP Kashmir Range

    In a response to a question during press conference on 22 March, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Range—Vijay Kumar said that “Sticky bombs aka Magnet-attached Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are challenge to security forces, but situation is not alarming. We [security forces] will deal with it effectively and ensure a peaceful pilgrimage [of Amarnath Yatra from 28 June].”
    In an advisory, the administration appealed to civilians not to leave their vehicles unattended in public places. Sticky bombs had been found in February along with the International Border (IB) of India-Pakistan in the Samba sector of Jammu. Investigation revealed that the explosives had been air-dropped by drones.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Left-Wing Extremism
    Maoists killed a villager in Chhattisgarh
    On 17 March, Maoists killed a villager—Munna Verma on suspicion of being a police informer in Khursipar Khurd village in Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh which comes under the newly formed MMC Zone (Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh) of CPI (Maoist). The Maoist abducted Munna and later shot him in the jungle. Several leaflets and pamphlets indicating that Munna was a police informer, were recovered from the spot where Munna was killed.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Security forces eliminated four Maoists in Bihar

    On 16 March, security forces eliminated four Maoists in a gun-battle in forests of Chakarbandha Hill in Gaya district in Bihar. Three AK-47 assault rifles and an INSAS rifle were recovered from the encounter site. The slain Maoists were identified as Amresh Singh aka Tuntun Bhokta (zonal commander-Gaya), Shivpujan Yadav aka Pramod (sub-zonal commander), Uday Paswan, and Sita Bhuiyan.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    NIA filed charge-sheet against seven Khalistani operatives

    On 22 March, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed charge-sheet against seven Khalistani operatives—Jajbir Singh Samraaka Jazz aka Jass, Varinder Singh Chahal, Kulbir Singh, Manjit Kaur, Taranbir Singh, Kulwinderjit Singh, and Harmeet Singh aka PhD, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Explosive Substances Act, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA (P)A], at the NIA Special Court, Mohali.

    The charge-sheet was in connection to the case of seizure of two hand grenades, and a mobile phone recovered by Punjab Police at a Bus Stop, while the unidentified bikers were stopped by the police during regular checking. Investigation revealed that Jajbir Singh Samra and Varinder Singh Chahal were part of a narco-terror cell involved in distribution of Heroin smuggled from Pakistan. Kulwinderjit Singh was an operative of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terror group, and Harmeet Singh was a self-styled chief of Pakistan-based Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF).
    For more information:
    Click here to read...

    Islamic Extremism
    NIA raided 11 locations in Delhi, Kerala and Karnataka in connection to IS module

    On 15 March, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials, along with local Police units, raided 11 locations—eight in Kerala, two in Bengaluru, and one location in Delhi, in connection to Islamic State (IS) module led by Mohammad Ameen aka Abu Yahya. The group have been running various IS propaganda channels on different social media and communication platforms such as Telegram, Hoop and Instagram for propagating the violent jihadi ideology and radicalising and recruiting new members to this IS module.
    According to the press statement released by the NIA, the searches were conducted at the premises of Mohammed Ameen and his associates who were members of the various groups/channels on encrypted communication platforms. Several digital devices including laptops, mobiles, Hard Disk Drives (HDD), pen drives, multiple SIM cards of different service providers and incriminating documents have been recovered.
    For more information:
    Click here to read...

    CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

    “India’s Cyber Security critical for its growth,” said India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator

    While addressing the conference ‘[email protected] 2021 on Information Warfare (IW) on 13 March, India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC)—Lt Gen (Retd) Rajesh Pant cautioned that other nations could slow down India’s growth by interfering with its cyberspace. Due to cyber-crime, the global economic loss in 2020 was USD 06 trillion. “With automation and digitisation, all sectors have become critical sectors, and this has made cyber security that much more relevant. Cyber security is going to be one of the factors that will create headwinds in the economic growth the country [India] wants,” said Lt Gen Pant.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Cyber-attacks impacted 52 per cent of organisation in India over the last 12 months

    According to a report The Future of Cyber Security in Asia-Pacific and Japan by Sophos—a cyber security solution provider, cyber security attacks impacted 52 per cent of organisations in India in last over 12 months; of these attacks 71 per cent of firms admitted that “it was a serious or very serious attack” and 65 per cent said it took more than a week to fix the issue.

    According to the same report, overall, 44 per cent of Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) organisations surveyed suffered a data breach in 2020, up from 32 per cent in 2019. Of these successful breaches, 55 per cent of companies rated the loss of data as either “very serious” (24 per cent) or “serious” (31 per cent). About 17 per cent of organisations surveyed suffered at least 50 cyber-attacks per week.
    For more information: Click here to read...

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