VIF News Digest: National Security - Defence Studies & Terrorism, 01-15 June 2021
Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF

DEFENCE

  • Raksha Mantri reviews bilateral defence cooperation with Australian counterpart.
  • General MM Naravane reviews the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir UT.
  • MoD signs contract for 11 Airport Surveillance Radars.
  • Defence Acquisition Councilapproves RFP for construction of six submarines at approx cost of Rs 43,000 crore.
  • Releases of E-booklet on 20 MoD reforms in 2020.
  • Raksha Mantri invites Swedish firms to invest in defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh & Tamil Nadu.
  • India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol.
  • Policy on archiving, declassification & compilation of war/operations histories.
  • Budgetary support for Defence innovation through iDEX – DIO.
  • Indian Army Conducts Rail Trials on Dedicated Freight Corridor.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Afghanistan
  • Three bomb explosions killed at least 10 people in Kabul.
  • Al-Qaida leader al-Zawahiri believed to be in Afghan-Pak border, reports the UN.
Pakistan
  • Islamic State-Pakistan launched its first Urdu-language jihadist magazine.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • NIA Court sentenced three LeT terrorists to 10 years imprisonment in Nanded LeT case.
  • Security forces arrested seven JeM OGWs from Pulwama.
  • Left-Wing Extremism
    • NIA charge-sheeted three CPI (Maoist) operatives in 2020 Madurai CPI (Maoist) case.
    Islamic Extremism
    • NIA charge-sheeted an IS terrorist in Chennai IS/ ‘Q’ branch case.
    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    • British-Sikhs insulted the Indian flags during a rally to mark the anniversary of Operation Blue Star.

    CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

    • MI wing busted Pakistan’s espionage racket on Army’s installations in Eastern India.
    • Microsoft launched the first-ever Asia-Pacific Cyber Security Council.
    • JBS S.A.’s computer networks assaulted under cyber-attack.
    • Facebook suspended Pakistan-linked fake news outlets targeting India.

    Defence

    Raksha Mantri reviews bilateral defence cooperation with Australian counterpart.

    Raksha Mantri in a telephonic conversation with Australian Minister for Defence Mr Peter Dutton on June 01, 2021, both Ministers reviewed the defence cooperation between the two countries in the backdrop of the current regional situation. Both Ministers acknowledged the momentum that defence cooperation between India and Australia has achieved following the upgradation of the partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in Jun 2020. The participation of Australia in Exercise MALABAR has been an important milestone in this enhanced partnership. Both Ministers expressed satisfaction at the growing defence ties between the two countries and reviewed the progress on various bilateral defence cooperation initiatives and expressed commitment to further elevate engagements between the Armed Forces. During the dialogue, the Ministers expressed their intent to convene the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue at the earliest. The RM thanked Australia for their assistance to India in fight against COVID-19.

    General MM Naravane reviews the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir UT.

    The Army Chief visited units and formations in the hinterland where he was briefed by the local Commanders on the existing security situation and the measures being taken to identify & target the over ground workers’ (OGWs) network involved in radicalisation and recruitment of youth into terrorist ranks. Efforts to prevent local recruitment and facilitate surrender of local terrorists were also discussed.

    While interacting with troops, the COAS expressed his appreciation to the jawans and commanders who are relentlessly battling the dual challenges of Pakistan abetted terror and the global pandemic. He further reinforced the need to be prepared to meet emerging security challenges effectively. Later, the COAS was briefed by the Chinar Corps Commander on the overall situation pertaining to the Line of Control and the hinterland.

    MoD signs contract for 11 Airport Surveillance Radars.

    Ministry of Defence signed a contract with M/s Mahindra Telephonics Integrated Systems Ltd., Mumbai for procurement of 11 Airport Surveillance Radars with Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar at a cost of Rs 323.47 crore, will be made under the ‘Buy & Make’ category. The installation of these radars will increase the air domain awareness around airfields and enhance safety & efficiency in flying operations of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

    Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approves RFP for construction of six submarines at approx cost of Rs 43,000 crore.

    The DAC accorded approval of procurement of Air Defence Guns and Ammunition at an approx. cost of Rs 6,000 crore under the Buy & Make (Indian) category, on June 04, 2021. In addition, the DAC also approved issue of RFP for construction of six Conventional Submarines under Project P 75 (I) under the Strategic Partnership (SP) Model. This project envisages indigenous construction of six conventional submarines equipped with the state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion system at an estimated cost of Rs 43,000 crore.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Releases of E-booklet on 20 MoD reforms in 2020.

    The compilation provides a brief overview of defence reforms undertaken in the year 2020 by MoD through policy changes, innovation and digital transformation. Reforms also focused on the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ initiative of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi; increased collaboration with the industry to boost defence exports; measures to accelerate defence acquisitions with greater transparency; digital transformation; strengthening of border infrastructure; increased participation of women in Armed Forces; transformation in R&D to boost innovation; expansion of NCC to remote locations and aid extended to the civil administration in fight against COVID-19.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Raksha Mantri invites Swedish firms to invest in defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh & Tamil Nadu.

    A webinar on India-Sweden Defence Industry Cooperation, with the theme ‘Capitalizing Opportunities for Growth and Security’, was organised on June 08, 2021. It was organised under the aegis of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence through Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and Swedish Security and Defence Industry (SOFF).
    For more information: Click here to read...

    India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol.

    The 31stedition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navyand the Royal Thai Navy was conducted from 09 – 11 June 2021. Indian Naval Ship (INS) Saryu, and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Krabi, along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both navies are participated in the CORPAT.

    Policy on archiving, declassification & compilation of war/operations histories.

    Raksha Mantri has approved the policy on archiving, declassification and compilation/publication of war/operations histories by the Ministry of Defence. According to the policy, records should ordinarily be declassified in 25 years. Records older than 25 years should be appraised by archival experts and transferred to the National Archives of India once the war/operations histories have been compiled. The policy also set clear timelines with regard to compilation and publication of war/operations histories. The above-mentioned Committee should be formed within two years of completion of war/operations. Thereafter, collection of records and compilation should be completed in three years and disseminated to all concerned.

    Budgetary support for Defence innovation through iDEX – DIO.

    Raksha Mantri approved the budgetary support of Rs 498.8 crore to Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) - Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) for the next five years. The budgetary support will provide a big boost to the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ as its primary objective of self-reliance and indigenisation in defence & aerospace sector of the country. It is aimed at providing financial support to nearly 300 start-ups/MSMEs/individual innovators and 20 partner incubators under the DIO framework.
    For more information: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1726722" target="_blank">Click here to read...

    Indian Army Conducts Rail Trials on Dedicated Freight Corridor.

    The recently developed “Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)” by the Indian Railways provides faster movement of freight across the Country. The Indian Army on Monday (14 June 2021), conducted a successful trial by moving a military train loaded with vehicles and equipment from New Rewari to New Phulera validating the efficacy of the DFC.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

    Afghanistan
    Three bomb explosions killed at least 10 people in Kabul

    Three bomb explosions, on 01 June 2021, killed at least 10 people and wounded a dozen others, in Kabul. In first incident, two bombs exploded at separate locations of a west Kabul, in which at least 10 people were killed. Out of two, the first explosion took place near the home of a prominent Hazara leader—Mohammad Mohaqiq, and in front of a Shia Mosque. The third bomb explosion damaged an electric grid station in north Kabul.
    No terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Islamic State (IS) affiliate operating in Afghanistan has previously declared war on minority Shia Muslims, who make up roughly 20 percent of the majority Sunni Muslim nation of 36 million people.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Al-Qaida leader al-Zawahiri believed to be in Afghan-Pak border, reports the UN

    On 04 June 2021, the United Nations (UN)’s 12th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team reported that a significant part of the al-Qaida leadership resides in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, including group’s leader Aiman al-Zawahiri. The report confirmed that the large numbers of al-Qaida terrorists and other foreign Islamic extremists aligned with Taliban are located in various parts in Afghanistan. The report also suggests that al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operates under Taliban umbrella from Kandahar, Helmand, and Nimruz Provinces.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Pakistan
    Islamic State-Pakistan Province launched its first Urdu-language jihadist magazine

    At the end of April 2021, Islamic State-Pakistan Province (IS-PP) launched its first Urdu-language magazine—Yalghar (invasion), on social media platform that regularly disseminate the IS-PP propaganda materials. IS-PP has mainly translated IS’s central propaganda materials from Arabic and English language to Urdu. In May 2019, the IS central established IS-PP by dividing Islamic State-Khurasan Province (IS-KP) into branches for India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    DOMESTIC TERRORISM

    Jammu and Kashmir
    NIA Court sentenced three LeT terrorists to 10 years imprisonment in Nanded LeT case

    On 15 June 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court in Mumbai, sentenced three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists—Mohammad Muzammil, Mohammad Sadiq, and Mohammad Akram aka Imran Khan aka Khaled, to 10 years rigorous imprisonment under various Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], in connection with 2012 Nanded LeT case. The case was registered under the Arms Act upon recovery of firearms from accused.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Security forces arrested seven JeM OGWs from Pulwama

    Acting upon specific input, on 27 May 2021, security forces arrested seven Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Over-Ground Workers (OGWs) from Awantipora area in Pulwama district and prevented six other youths from joining the ranks of the terrorist group. “Youth developed contact with active terrorists in the area and was lured into joining the terrorist group. The arrested youths were motivated by Pakistan-based self-style commanders to join militancy and asked to establish contact with their ground cadre in Awantipora and Tral area. The arrested OGWs were involved in providing logistics, shelter, transporting of arms/ammunition and other kind of support to JeM terrorists in Tral and Awantipora areas,” read the statement released by Awantipora police.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Left-Wing Extremism
    NIA charge-sheeted three CPI (Maoist) operatives in 2020 Madurai CPI (Maoist) case

    On 11 June 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge-sheet before Special Court in Chennai against three Maoists—Vivekanandan aka Vivek, Suresh Rajan, and Mohan Ramasamy aka Advocate Mohan, under Section 120-B, 124-A, 201, and 505(i)(b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 13(1)(b), 38, and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], in connection with 2020 Madurai CPI (Maoist) case.

    The case is related to uploading of objectionable contents on Facebook account “Thozhar Vivek” denigrating celebration of Independence Day as a sham. Investigation and scrutiny of posts uploaded on social media accounts of accused persons have revealed their support and active role in propagating cause and ideology of proscribed terrorist organisation CPI (Maoist) and its frontal organisations.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Islamic Extremism
    NIA charge-sheeted an IS terrorist in Chennai IS/ ‘Q’ branch case

    On 14 June 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge-sheet before Special Court in Chennai, against an Islamic State (IS) terrorist—Syed Ali, under Section 120-B, 471, and 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Sections 18, 38, and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], and Sections 4 & 5 of Explosive Substances Act (ESA) in 2019 Chennai IS/ ‘Q’ branch case.

    The case is related to arrest of few people who had conspired at Salem and Chennai and fraudulently activated Airtel and Vodafone SIM cards by using multiple identity documents of various persons without their knowledge and consent. Upon investigation, it was found that the accused had used the SIM cards for terrorist activities.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    British-Sikhs insulted the Indian flags during a rally to mark the anniversary of Operation Blue Star

    On 07 June 2021, British-Sikhs set ablaze two Indian flags during the “remembrance march and freedom rally” organised to mark the anniversary of Operation Blue Star, in London, the United Kingdom. The Indian High Commission in London condemned the incident as “extremely distressful” and vowed to take action against those who insulted the Indian flag.
    Two police officers appeared once both flags were gutted, and the culprit poured water over whatever remained of them. “I was not specifically aware of any flag being burnt” and that nobody had been arrested, said a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police. The officer pointed out that setting flags alight was, in any case, not a criminal offence in Britain.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

    MI wing busted Pakistan’s espionage racket on Army’s installations in Eastern India

    Indian Army’s Military Intelligence (MI) wing busted a Pakistan’s espionage racket targeting the military installations in the Eastern India. In the racket, Pakistan-based intelligence operatives exploited illegal exchanges to route their calls to connect with Indian citizens and obtain information of military installations. “A call from a Pakistani spy agency to an Army installation in eastern India has uncovered an illegal telephone exchange in Bengaluru, with suspicion of other such operations in other parts of the country,” said an official (on the basis of anonymity).
    The racket was revealed after the Anti-Terror Cell (ATC) of the Bengaluru Police, with the help of MI of the Southern Command, arrested two men who ran an illegal phone exchange, converting international calls to local ones, causing a huge revenue loss and posing a threat to national security.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Microsoft launched the first-ever Asia-Pacific Cyber Security Council

    With aim to accelerate public-private partnerships in cyber security, share threat intelligence, Microsoft launched the first Asia-Pacific Cyber Security Council (APCSC). The council consists of policy-makers and influencers from Brunei, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, supported by cyber security professionals.
    “Our joint mission is to build a strong coalition, to strengthen our cyber security defence,” said Sherie Ng, General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft Asia-Pacific. The APAC countries continue to experience a higher-than-average encounter rate for malware and ransomware attacks—1.6 and 1.7 times higher respectively than the rest of the world.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    JBS S.A.’s computer networks assaulted under cyber-attack

    On 30 May, the computer networks and servers of the JBS S.A.—the world’s biggest meat supplier, assaulted under cyber-attack. JBS S.A. shut its North American and Australian computer networks after an organised cyber-assault on some of its servers. The incident delayed certain transactions with customers and suppliers. The attack side-lined two shifts and halted processing at one of Canada’s largest meat-packing plants, while the company cancelled all beef and lamb kills across Australia. Crackers now have the commodities industry in their crosshairs with the JBS S.A. cyber-attack coming just three weeks after the operator of the biggest US gasoline pipeline was targeted.
    For more information: Click here to read...

    Facebook suspended Pakistan-linked fake news outlets targeting India

    In the recent “Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour” (CIB) report of Facebook, 40 Facebook accounts, 25 Pages, six Groups, and 28 Instagram accounts, based in Pakistan were suspended for propagating misinformation targeting India. “Although the people behind it attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with AlphaPro, a Pakistan-based PR firm,” informed Facebook.
    “Key narratives advanced by the AlphaPro network included: praise for Pakistan and its armed forces; efforts to denigrate India and highlight attacks by Hindu nationalists targeting religious minorities; support for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan; and promotion of the Pakistan-backed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) investment project,” mentioned a report prepared by the Graphika, a research firm that studies misinformation and analyses manipulation of social networks.
    For more information: Click here to read...

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