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

DEFENCE

  • Indian Navy Ships Deployed for Op Samudra Setu II.
  • Raksha Mantri reviews efforts of MoD & Armed Forces in fight against second COVID-19 wave.
  • Indian Air Force & Navy step up efforts to ferry oxygen and medical supplies.
  • DCGI approves anti-COVID drug developed by DRDO for emergency use.
  • Launch of Defence National OPD on e-Sanjeevani portal.
  • Goa Maritime Symposium – 2021.
  • IAF Prepares For Cyclone Tauktae.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

West Asia
  • “Hezbollah is a threat to the US, its allies, and interests in the Middle-East”, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Afghanistan
  • At least 50 people killed in an explosion near girls’ school in Kabul.
  • Amid US pull-out, Taliban issued threat to Afghan journalists.
Maldives
  • Former Maldivian President Nasheed injured in a bomb blast in Male.
Bangladesh
  • Dhaka police’s CTTC arrested four people for links with Ansar al-Islam.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • Security forces eliminated two LeT terrorists in Baramulla.
  • NIA filed charge-sheet against three LeT terrorists in an online recruitment module case.
  • Security forces foiled major terrorist attack, recovered explosives from Poonch and Doda.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • Several Maoists are battling with coronavirus, said anti-Maoist operations’ OSD.
Islamic Extremism
  • Hefazat-e-Islam radicals infiltrating into India, warned Bangladesh Intelligence.

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

  • Major gas pipeline in the US was shut down in Ransomware cyber-attack.
  • Russia-backed hackers are new cyber-attack threat, claimed the US and the UK officials.

Defence

Indian Navy Ships Deployed for Op Samudra Setu II.

In support of the nation’s fight against Covid-19 and as part of operation 'Samudra Setu II’, seven Indian Naval ships viz. Kolkata, Kochi, Talwar, Tabar, Trikand, Jalashwa and Airavat have been deployed for shipment of liquid medical oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment from various countries.

Raksha Mantri reviews efforts of MoD & Armed Forces fight against second COVID-19 wave.

The RM was briefed that approximately 600 additional doctors are being mobilised through special measures such as calling to duty those who had retired in the last few years. The National Cadet Corps (NCC) has deployed 300 cadets and staff at various locations in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Haryana. A tele medicine service, to be operated by health veterans, will begin soon to provide consultation to those patients who remain at home. Indian Army has made available more than 720 beds for civilians in various states.

The RM was briefed that the 500-bed hospital being set up DRDO in Lucknow will start functioning in the next 2-3 days. Another hospital is also being set up in Varanasi which is scheduled to be completed by 5thMay. The DRDO Chairman said the first four out of 380 Oxygen PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) plants being manufactured under PM CARES fund will be deployed in hospitals in New Delhi by next week.

Raksha Mantri appreciated the logistics support being provided by the Armed Forces in transporting oxygen containers from abroad as well as within the country between places of consumption and production. While transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out several sorties from Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and within the country, Indian Navy dispatched four ships – two to Middle east and two to South East Asia – to transport filled oxygen containers to India. As on May 01, 2021, IAF carried out 28 sorties from abroad, airlifting 47 oxygen containers with 830 MT of capacity, while from within the country, it carried out 158 sorties, airlifting 109 containers with 2,271 MT capacity. The Navy and the Air Force have also supplied nearly 500 portable oxygen cylinders from their stores to various civilian hospitals.

Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) are procuring 28 oxygen plants and other medical equipment worth Rs 40 crore under CSR for supplying to various hospitals in states. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has set up a 250-bed hospital in Bengaluru. Another 250-bed hospital is being set up in Lucknow.

Indian Air Force & Navy step up efforts to ferry oxygen and medical supplies.

Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy (IN) have intensified their efforts to aid the civil administration in tackling the current COVID19 situation by ferrying oxygen containers and medical equipment.As on early hours of May 10, 2021, the IAF aircraft carried out 534 sorties from various parts of the country.The cities covered are Jamnagar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Panagarh, Indore, Ranchi, Agra, Jodhpur, Begumpet, Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Surat, Raipur, Udaipur, Mumbai, Lucknow, Nagpur, Gwalior, Vijayawada, Baroda, Dimapur and Hindan. The IAF aircraft also carried out 84 international sorties. The equipment has been procured from Singapore, Dubai, Thailand, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Indonesia and Israel.

The Indian Navy deployed its ships INS Talwar, INS Kolkata, INS Airavat, INS Kochi, INS Tabar, INS Trikand, INS Jalashwa & INS Shardul to ferry oxygen containers/cylinders/concentrators and related equipment from friendly foreign countries.
For more information: Click here to read...

DCGI approves anti-COVID drug developed by DRDO for emergency use.

An anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad. Clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence. Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in COVID patients. The drug will be of immense benefit to the people suffering from COVID-19.
For more information: Click here to read...

Launch of Defence National OPD on e-Sanjeevani portal.

In order to mitigate the criticality of inadequate availability of specialised medical manpower, veteran defence doctors have come forward answering the call of the nation to provide free online consultation services on the e-Sanjeevani platform. After the successful roll out in 3 states, Ex-Defence OPD, now renamed as Defence National OPD, has been rolled out pan India on 14 May 2021 and is available on Click here to read....

Goa Maritime Symposium – 2021.

Towards fostering friendly relations with its maritime neighbours, Indian Navy hosted ‘GMS-21’ under the aegis of Naval War College, Goa on 11 and 12 May 21. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event for the first time was hosted in virtual mode, with online participation of Naval representatives from 13 Indian Ocean Littoral countries, which included India, Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The theme for GMS-21 was focused on “Maritime Security and Emerging Non-Traditional Threats: A Case for Proactive Role for IOR Navies,” with emphasis on capacity building amongst the IOR Navies to tackle emerging common maritime threats.

IAF Prepares for Cyclone Tauktae.

The IAF has kept 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters on op readiness in peninsular India in preparation for the Cyclone Tauktae which is expected to cause very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall along the western coast of India in the next few days.

One IL-76 aircraft has airlifted 127 personnel and 11 tonnes of cargo from Bhatinda to Jamnagar. A C-130 aircraft has airlifted 25 personnel and 12.3 tonnes cargo from Bhatinda to Rajkot. Two C-130 aircraft have airlifted 126 personnel and 14 tonnes cargo from Bhubaneswar to Jamnagar. Additionally, IAF Covid relief operations have been focused in these coastal areas for the coming few days, as bad weather is likely to affect air operations later. The cyclone relief operations are in addition to those underway for Covid relief.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

West Asia
“Hezbollah is a threat to the US, its allies, and interests in the Middle-East,” said US’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken

On 11 May, the United States’ Secretary of State—Antony Blinken called on the governments worldwide to take action against Iran-supported terrorist organisation—Hezbollah. The US Treasury Department sanctioned seven Lebanese nationals having connections with Hezbollah and its financial arm—Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH). Earlier, the US Treasury Department has blacklisted the chief of Hezbollah’s Central Finance Unit—Ibrahim Ali Daher as a global terrorist. The Treasury Department also accused six Lebanese nations of using the cover of personal accounts at Lebanese banks to evade sanctions targeting AQAH and transfer USD 500 million on behalf of the US-blacklisted firm [identity undisclosed].
For more information: Click here to read...

Afghanistan
At least 50 people killed in an explosion near girls’ school in Kabul

On 08 May, at least 50 people were killed and 100 other wounded in multiple explosions caused by a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) followed by two IEDs, near the Sayeed ul-Shuhada girls’ school in the Dasht-e-Barchi area in Kabul. No terror group claimed responsibility of the attack. In a message to media, Taliban’s spokesperson—Zabiullah Mujahid denied involvement of the terror group in the blast. The incident took place when students, majority of girls, were leaving the school, as reported by Tolo News.
For more information: Click here to read...

Amid US pull-out, Taliban issued threat to Afghan journalists

On 05 May, Taliban issued warning to Afghan journalists accusing them siding with Afghanistan’s intelligence agency in Kabul. The warning came amid the US troop withdrawal and fear of rising violence in country. In a statement released by the Taliban’s official spokesperson—Zabiullah Mujahid said that “those Afghanistan journalists who give one-sided news in support of Afghanistan’s intelligence service” and warned them to stop or face severe consequences. Since 2006, over 76 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan, according to the report by the United Nations Education and Cultural Organisation (UNECO).
For more information: Click here to read...

Maldives
Former Maldivian President Nasheed injured in a bomb blast in Male

On 06 May, former Maldivian President and Speaker of Parliament—Mohamed Nasheed was injured in a bomb explosion in Male. The explosion took place when former President Nasheed was about to get into his car near his residence. According to preliminary reports, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) fastened to a two-wheeler vehicle parked nearby, blew up and injured former President Nasheed and one of his bodyguards.
For more information: Click here to read...

Bangladesh
Dhaka police’s CTTC arrested four people for links with Ansar al-Islam

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, on 09 May, arrested four people—three students, and a Madrassa teacher, from Mohammadpur in Dhaka, for their alleged links with Ansar al-Islam terror group. During a press conference, police’s media wing informed that arrested people were in contact with Ansar al-Islam’s recruiters—Farid aka Tarik, and Abdullah through the messaging application.
For more information: Click here to read...

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
Security forces eliminated two LeT terrorists in Baramulla

On 04 May, security forces eliminated two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists—Waseem Ahmad Lone and a foreign terrorist identified as Hamas aka Asrar in a counter-terrorism (CT) operation at Nathipora in Bomai area in Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Post operation, security forces recovered arms and ammunition, including an AK47 rifle, an INSAS rifle and other incriminating materials from the site.
For more information: Click here to read...

NIA filed charge-sheet against three LeT terrorists in an online recruitment module

case
On 05 May, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge-sheet against three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists—Tania Parveen aka Isranoor aka Refite, Sayyad M Idris, and Ayesha aka Ayesha Burhan aka Ayesha Siddiqi aka Syed Ayesha, in connection with the West Bengal LeT online recruitment case. According to the charge-sheet, Tania Parveen, who is trained by Pakistan-based LeT recuriters, was co-admin of several social media groups for radicalising the youth and propagating the ideology of LeT.
For more information: Click here to read...

Security forces foiled major terrorist attack, recovered explosives from Poonch and Doda

Acting upon intelligence inputs, on 09 May, security forces foiled a major terrorist attack and recovered 19 hand-grenades from a terrorist hideout in Phagla area of Surankote in Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). According to specific intelligence inputs, terrorists were conspiring to target security forces on the National Highway (NH) 144-A (Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch Highway).
Earlier on 08 May, security forces recovered 40 kg of high explosive material, including five-litre pressure cooker Improvised Explosive Device (IED), five-inch iron pipe IED, four electronic detonators, electrical wire, power sources, six heavy-duty pencil batteries, and 1.5 kg iron splinters from Chakarandi village of Doda district.
For more information: Click here to read...

Left-Wing Extremism
Several Maoists are battling with coronavirus, said anti-Maoist operations’ OSD

Many senior Maoists are battling with coronavirus resulting in a pause in Maoist activities in Andhra Pradesh. “We have information about few Maoists affected by the infection, and we are ready to provide medical treatment. Upon surrender, police will admit them in hospital and they will sent to their native villages after recovery, said Anti-Maoist Operations’ Officer on Special Duty (OSD)—Satish Kumar.
For more information: Click here to read...

Islamic Extremism
Hefazat-e-Islam radicals infiltrating into India, warned Bangladesh Intelligence

Bangladesh intelligence agencies alerted Indian intelligence counterparts about the scores of Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI) terrorists infiltrating into West Bengal and Assam. In March, Bangladesh government directed its security forces to initiate massive crackdown on HeI after the radical group conspired a violent campaign opposing the visit of Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi to Bangladesh. More than 50 key leaders of HeI and around 300 sympathisers to the radical group were arrested during the crackdown in March. “The alert has been taken seriously as the State administration and police of West Bengal and Assam was until recently occupied during elections. State police forces and the Border Security Force (BSF) alerted to be extra vigilant,” said a top intelligence official on the basis of anonymity.

For more information: Click here to read...

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

Major gas pipeline in the US was shutdown in Ransomware-based cyber-attack

On 07 May, a Ransomware-based cyber-attack has forced the shutdown of major gas pipeline in the United States (US)—Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to Linden, New Jersey. According to the statement released by the company, certain systems were proactively taking offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of company’s IT systems.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) engaged with the Colonial Pipeline company in investigation of the attack.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that the attack was carried out by so-called “DarkSide” criminal organisation based in the Eastern Europe. The federal officials were actively trying to determine any involvement of a foreign nation or support provided to cyber criminals to execute this cyber-attack.
For more information: Click here to read...

Russia-backed hackers are new cyber-attack threat, claimed the US and the UK officials

A joint advisory report prepared by the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) security agencies claimed that Russia’s foreign intelligence service—SVR aka APT29 aka Cozy Bear, and the Dukes, have updated Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) after it was found that Russia-backed hackers continue target governments, organisations, and energy providers around the world.
For more information: Click here to read...

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