VIF Fortnightly Digest: Defence, National Security & Terrorism (Vol 2 Issue I)

January 16-31, 2018


India Launches Third Scorpene Class Submarine;
J&K - Shopian Operations and Encounter;
NIA takes over Terror Funding Case from Delhi Police
LWE - Two CPI-Maoist Cadres Killed in Encounter;
Afghanistan - Series of Terror Strikes hits the Country;
Daesh Militants Killed in Airstrike at Nangarha;
Pakistan - US Drone Strikes Kill Haqqani Network Militants;
Iraq -Explosive Devices Seized by ISF in Baghdad;
150 Daesh Militants Killed in Airstrike in Syria;Daesh Threat to Iraq from Syrian border;
Africa - Terror Strike in Northern Mali;
US Africa Command conducts Airstrikes in Somalia;
Boko Haram Terrorists Attacked IDP Camp in Borno;
India-ASEAN agree to Strengthen Operation in Counter-terrorism;


India Launches Third Scorpene Class Submarine

The Indian Navy launched the third Scorpene class submarine ‘Karanj’ on 30 Jan 18. Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba’s wife Reena Lanba launched the submarine, which has been constructed by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL). The submarine will undergo rigorous tests for the next one year before it is commissioned. A total of six submarines are going to be built at the MDL. The submarines are being built in collaboration with a French shipbuilding major.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, while commissioning the first of the six Scorpene-class submarine Kalvari into the Indian Navy last month had said, ‘its induction was a big step in the country’s defence preparedness’. [Back to Contents ]

National Security

Jammu and Kashmir

The Shopian Operation

In response to intense stone pelting and protests, the security forces opened fire in self-defense in which two civilians were killed in Shopian district of South Kashmir on January 27, 2018. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) condemned the killing of two youth and called for a shutdown on January 28. On the same evening, terrorists fired two grenades at a police post (Warpora) in Sopore area of Baramulla district in which two police personnel were injured. Security forces immediately cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.

Shopian Encounter

In a fierce gun battle between security forces and terrorists, two militants were killed at Diaroo’s Chaigund area of Shopia district on January 24, 2018. In the crossfire, a local boy was also killed and two women sustained injuries. After the operation, weapons were recovered from the operation site. The incident also led to clashes between the protesters and the security forces. The Shopian encounter comes at a time when the number of ceasefire violations by the Pakistani side along the LoC has already reached 134 in just one month in 2018; the highest in the last 14 years. In entire 2017 the total number of ceasefire violations were recorded at 860. [Back to Contents ]

NIA takes over Terror Funding Case from Delhi Police

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the case of absconding Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) terrorist Nasir Safi Mir, for his alleged involvement in funding Hurriyat leaders. NIA has re-registered the case on January 28, 2018, to ascertain how Mir, alias "Babul", managed to secure a passport from a southern state which he allegedly used in Nepal in October 2008 to leave for Europe. Mir, a resident of North Kashmir, allegedly used carpet trade and later a money exchange business in Dubai to send hawala money to separatist leaders in Kashmir, was earlier arrested from Lajpat Nagar by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on February 3, 2006. [Back to Contents ]

Left Wing Extremism

Two CPI-Maoist Cadres Killed in Encounter

In a joint operation between CoBRA 201 Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Chhattisgarh Police, security forces killed two activists of Communist Party of India – Maoists (CPI-M) in the forests between Tademetta and Moprpalli village of Sukma District on January 27, 2018. Two weapons along with detonators were recovered from the site of operation. [Back to Contents ]

International Terrorism

Afghanistan, Pakistan

Series of Terror Strikes Hits Afghanistan

On January 20, 2018, a group of four/five gunmen launched an attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul. The siege ended after a fierce gun battle of 12 hours in which 43 people lost their lives and 22 people were injured. In a statement issued by the Afghan Interior Ministry, the terrorists were suspected to belong to the Pakistan based Haqqani Network. The Afghan Security and Police forces were taken by surprise by the fact that the militants were able to get past the security cordon managed by the privately-owned Kabul Balkh Safety and Security Guards.

The city was once again subjected to a massive suicide attack by Taliban militants on January 27, 2018, when militants drove an explosives laden ambulance through the security cordon near the Interior ministry of Afghanistan. In this attack, 120 people were killed and 235 people injured. In an official statement, the Interior Ministry confirmed that during this attack the Afghan Police forces suffered heavy casualties, and amongst injured there were 30 policemen. After the attack, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, in an official statement, stated that four persons had been detained in connection with the incident.

Within a short span of 10 days, the city of Kabul faced third terrorist attack on its Military Academy on January 29, 2018. In this attack, nearly 11 troops were killed and 16 people were injured. In this attack two terrorists were killed in a fierce gun battle, two detonated their suicide vests and one was arrested alive by the Afghan security forces. Security forces also recovered one suicide vest, an AK-47 and some ammunition. Hours after this deadly attack, the Daesh affiliate in Afghanistan from the Khorasan Province posted a claim of responsibility on the website of the Amaq. This military academy was earlier also attacked in October 2017 by a suicide bomber in which 15 officers were killed.

After the attack, Indian Prime Minister Modi called President Ghani on January 31, 2018, and offered condolences for these three deadly attacks. During the telephonic conversation, PM Modi and President Ghani affirmed that terrorist sanctuaries in the neighbourhood of both the countries need to be removed. India assured all possible help to Afghanistan to fight against terrorism.

In this backdrop, Afghanistan’s intelligence Chief Masoom Stanekzai and Afghan Interior Minister Wais Barmak visited Pakistan on January 31, 2018 and presented documentary evidence and phone tap information linking individuals and groups based in Pakistan with the Kabul attacks. [Back to Contents ]

Daesh Militants Killed in Airstrike at Nangarhar

The Afghan Security forces conducted air and ground strikes in the district of Gharnikhel, Haska Mina, Rodat and Jalalabad city on January 26, 2017. Simultaneously, in an intelligence-driven operation, the National Directorate of Security killed Taliban deputy chief Qari Daud and arrested six Taliban militants on January 27, 2018. [Back to Contents ]

US Drone Strikes Attacks in Pakistan - Haqqani Network Militants Killed

The US carried out drone strikes in Pakistan’s Speen Thall area in the border area between Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Orakzai Agency of North Waziristan on January 24, 2018, killing Haqqani Network Commander Ehsan alias Khawari and two of his companions. Drone strikes have surged in Kurram agency in the wake of US President Donald Trump's announcement of a new Afghan policy in August, in which Pakistan was accused of offering safe havens to agents of chaos. [Back to Contents ]

West Asia
Iraq and Syria

Explosive Devices Seized by ISF in Baghdad

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) seized and destroyed 115 explosive devices left over by Daesh militants in Baghdad. The surge in violence between the ISF and Daesh militants has resulted in the displacement of over 3 million people across Iraq and nearly 11 million people were left in need of humanitarian assistance. In November 2017, Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the last bastion of Daesh in Iraq. [Back to Contents ]

Daesh Threat to Iraq from Syrian Border

The Iraqi Security forces in an official statement issued on January 26, 2018, expressed concern about the potential threat of Daesh militants, emanating from Syrian regions on the border of Iraq. It further said that Daesh criminals were still holding certain regions of Syria as launching point for suicide attacks in Anbar region of Iraq. The government said, its troops were still chasing remnant militants at desert areas between Anbar and Nineveh. Many observers believe the group still poses a threat even after its losing its territorial control. The group did carry out occasional attacks on civilians and security forces since the declaration of its defeat. [Back to Contents ]

150 Daesh Militants Killed in Airstrike in Syria

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) conducted airstrikes on January 25, 2018, in which nearly 150 militants expected to have been killed in the middle Euphrates River Valley region. The US and Russia both have military forces in Syria and have urged Turkey to show restraint in its campaign, named Operation Olive Branch, to crush the US-backed Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units) in the Afrin region on Turkey’s southern border. The SDF has confirmed in the past that fewer than 1,000 Daesh fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, but the militant group still remains a threat. [Back to Contents ]


Terror Strike in Northern Mali

The military camp at Soumpi located in the centre of Timbuktu region of Mali faced a terror strike on January 27, 2017, in which 14 soldiers were killed and 15 others were injured. 30 heavily armed terrorists attacked this military camp of which 17 were killed after a fierce gun battle. Islamist fighters seized control of Mali’s northern desert regions in 2012 before being driven back by a French-led intervention a year later. But despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping mission and troops operating under a regional French anti-militant mission, violence is again on the rise and attacks are spreading further south toward the city of Bamako. The government’s periodic crackdowns on suspected jihadists have therefore tended to target the Fulani, driving some of them into the arms of the armed groups. [Back to Contents ]

US Africa Command conducts Airstrikes in Somalia

The US Africa Command (USAFCOM) in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, conducted airstrike against Al-Shabab terrorists on January 18, 2018, in the northwest of Kismayo region. In these airstrikes, 4 armed terrorists were killed. US AFCOM has partnered with African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somalia National Security Forces (SNSF) and launched joint counter-terrorism operations targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe heavens throughout Somalia and the region. Simultaneously, US Special Forces are also training Nigeria and Somalia to effectively combat against terrorist groups. [Back to Contents ]

Boko Haram Terrorists Attacked IDP Camp in Borno

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Dalori, Maiduguri faced a suicide bomb attack on January 31, 2018. In the attack, five people reportedly have been killed. Two of the suicide bombers also died in the incident. Dolori has been frequently attacked by Boko Haram, with at least, three attacks launched on the community since last two years. [Back to Contents ]

India-ASEAN Agreed to Strengthen Operation in Counter-terrorism

During the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit concluded on January 25, 2018, at New Delhi, India and member states of ASEAN agreed to deepen cooperation in counter-terrorism, strengthening mechanism for sharing of information, capacity building and reiterating their commitment to combat terrorism in all its format. Along with counter-terrorism, the leaders of ASEAN and India decided to strengthen cooperation in the field of transnational crimes, drug trafficking, cyber crimes and piracy. The Delhi Declaration identified combating terror financing jointly, as an important area where India and ASEAN can work collectively. The statement further highlighted the commitment of these leaders to prevent recruitment of terrorist groups, support efforts in targeting such groups and sanctuaries and take further urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, while stressing that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. Strengthening cooperation between the ASEAN and India on cyber security capacity building and policy coordination, including through supporting the implementation of the ASEAN Cyber Security Cooperation Strategy, ASEAN Regional Framework Plan on Security of and in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) were also important aspect of the Delhi Declaration. The countries also proposed to hold the First ASEAN-India Cyber Dialogue in 2018. [Back to Contents ]

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