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

June 1 – 15, 2018



IN Ships arrive Guam to participate in Ex-Malabar 2018;
India–Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT);
India-Nepal Joint Ex SURYA KIRAN-XIII;
Raksha Mantri Inaugurates BEL representative office in Vietnam.

International Terrorism:

Anti-Daesh Operations in Syria and Iraq;
SDF progressing its Military Campaign in adjacent areas of the Iraqi Border: Iraq; Afghanistan;
TTP’s Swat valley activist Mullah Fazlullah Killed in US Drone Strike;
SCO approves India’s proposal for UN CCIT.

Internal Security-Jammu and Kashmir:

Grenade attack at Bandipora;
Jaish-e Mohammad responsible for Nagrotta Attack – NIA;
Ramzan Operational Restraint reviewed by MHA and Called Off.


Indian Navy Ships arrive Guam to participate in Ex-Malabar 2018

Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri, Shakti and Kamorta of the Eastern Fleet arrived at Guam, USA, to participate in the 22nd edition of Exercise Malabar, from 07 to 16 June 2018. Exercise Malabar, which started as a bilateral exercise between the US Navy and the Indian Navy in 1992, has evolved over the years with the participation of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) from 2007. It is for the first time that the exercise is being conducted off Guam, a major US Naval Base in the Western Pacific. US has recently named their Hawaii-based Pacific Command as the US Indo-Pacific Command. In addition to the two indigenously designed and built ships Fleet Tanker INS Shakti and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I also would participate in the exercise.

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India–Indonesia Coordinated Patrol

INS Kulish, a Kora class Missile Corvette and one Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Andaman and Nicobar Command were deployed at Belawan, Indonesia from June 06 to 09, 2018 for the closing ceremony of the 31st edition of the India – Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT). The opening ceremony of IND-INDO CORPAT was earlier conducted from May 24 – 25, 2018 at Port Blair followed by co-ordinated patrol (CORPAT) from May 26 to June, 2018. Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region.

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India-Nepal Joint Ex SURYA KIRAN-XIII

Exercise SURYA KIRAN-XIII, a joint military training exercise between India and Nepal culminated on June 12, 2018 at Pithoragarh, wherein the troops of both Armies participated in 14-day long joint training based on counter-terrorist operations. It comprised 72-hour of outdoor exercise in which troops of both contingents carried out Cordon-and-Search Operation in a mock counter-insurgency village. Besides promoting understanding and inter-operability between the two armies, it further helped in cementing ties between both the nations.

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Raksha Mantri Inaugurates BEL representative office in Vietnam
Raksha Mantri, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the first Representative Office of Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in Hanoi, Vietnam on June 13, 2018. BEL, India’s leading defence electronics company, is expanding its global presence especially in South East Asian countries such as Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The Representative Office will aim to promote BEL’s exports in areas such as weapon systems, radar systems, naval systems, military communication systems, electronic warfare systems, combat management system and coastal surveillance system.

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International Terrorism

Anti-Daesh Operations in Syria and Iraq SDF progressing its Military Campaign in adjacent areas of the Iraqi Border

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced its military campaign targeting Daesh militants in Syria’s bordering areas with Iraq. The international coalition launched several airstrikes in al-Desheisha village in which 10 militants were killed. On June 3, 2018, the SDF launched the second phase of the operation in the eastern region of Syria. In December 2017, the SDF had declared its full control over Euphrates basin after an assertive military campaign in Deir az-Zour and Al-Mayadin cities.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Basher al-Assad has expressed readiness for negotiations with Syrian Democratic Forces, or else he would use force to get them out of the regions they control. In an interview, Assad said, “The only problem remaining in Syria now is the Syrian Democratic Forces. We will deal with them through two options. First is that we open the door for negotiations. If this does not happen, we will have to liberate those regions forcibly”. In this complex conflict situation, Assad regime is mainly dependent on Iran and Russia for military support.

Meantime, Al Qaeda is also reviving its capabilities to launch attacks in Syria. However, the Russian airstrikes have reversed their momentum in Syria. It is likely that the Assad regime and SDF may agree on legitimising some federal structure of government and in return, the SDF will get some autonomy in their respective region which will be a major setback to the US-led coalition. [Back to Contents ]


Simultaneously, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have resumed airstrikes since May 2018 against Daesh locations in Syria after Iraqi PM Abadi said that “ISF will follow Daesh militants in the whole region, not only in Iraq.” Several attacks on military establishments have been recorded in Iraq. These Fedayeen attacks on army posts are not sudden attacks but are coordinated ones reflecting the objective of Daesh to destabilise and delegitimise the state of Iraq. Though Daesh might have lost its territorial control but its ability to attack at its will is a matter of concern not only for Syria and Iraq but for the entire region. After the liberation of Mosul and major territories in Iraq, people are returning to their houses. Yet, these masses are vulnerable to hidden IEDs and traps in their homes affecting rehabilitation of the innocent civilians. [Back to Contents ]


On June 4, 2018, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Mosque in Kabul city in which nearly 15 people were killed. The attack took place when nearly 2000 Muslim clerics had assembled to deliberate upon the war and attacks by Taliban and ISIS. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility. Taliban distanced itself from the attack, as both the organisation are battling the government, they differ and often clash. The blast at the Mosque occurred after several months of frequent bombings and other attacks in Kabul city and other regions of the country. Post-military campaign and its success in Syria and Iraq, Kabul along with Eastern and North Western region of Afghanistan has emerged as a revival point of Daesh. [Back to Contents ]

TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah killed in US drone strike

The US Department of Defence confirmed in a statement on June 15, 2018, that Mullah Fazlullah who led the Tehriq-i-Taliban (TTP) in 2012, was killed in a US drone attack in north-eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan. Fazlullah was in charge of Taliban operations in the Swat valley. He had shot Malala and became emir of TTP in late 2013. The previous head, Hakimullah Mehsud, was also killed in a US drone strike in north-western Pakistan just before Fazlullah took control. Fazlullah was known as a hardliner who broadcast fiery sermons and hard-line ideology via an extremist radio station. The station was shut down when he was pushed out of Pakistan into Afghanistan. [Back to Contents ]

SCO approves India’s proposal for UN CCIT

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in its declaration on June 10, 2018, affirmed its commitment to India’s proposal on UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). It further mentioned that UN CCIT can be passed by reaching a consensus based on UN framework. Highlighting its commitment, the statement avowed that, “the member states will boost cooperation in fighting the spread and propaganda of terrorist ideas on the Internet, including public justification of terrorism, the recruitment of new members to terrorist groups, incitement to commit terrorist acts, financing of terrorism and the spread of information about ways to carry out terrorist attacks on the Internet”.
SCO is among the few regional groupings that have a separate body – RATS, in this case, based in Tashkent – to counter terrorism on the ground. Strengthening security architecture in the Eurasian region is one of the key goals for the eight-member grouping. India has raised the issue of the need for endorsement of the CCIT across several bilateral and multilateral forums for the past two decades. The CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist groups. The CCIT is currently being deliberated at the Sixth Ad Hoc Committee of the UN and is blocked by the US-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation over the definition of ‘terrorism’. The OIC emphasising upon exclusion of national liberation movements in the context of Israel-Palestine conflict. [Back to Contents ]

Internal Security-Jammu and Kashmir

Grenade attack at Bandipora

Six terrorists hurled grenades near the camp of 13 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in Hajin area of Bandipora District at camp on June 5, 2018. Terrorists also fired grenades towards Hajin Police Station through Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL). The same day an Army vehicle was damaged in an IED attack at Sopore area in Baramulla District. Hajin and Sopore remained intense counterinsurgency zones for the security forces. On June 14, the Army killed four militants in Panar forest area of Bandipore. In this operation, one Army Jawan was killed in intense gunfight. [Back to Contents ]

Jaish-e Mohammad responsible for Nagrotta Attack – NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested three men responsible for providing logistic support to conduct fidayeen attack of November 29, 2016. In an official statement released on June 7, 2018, NIA confirmed the involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror organisation in the Nagrotta 2016 attack. NIA statement identified the arrested men as Ashiq Baba who had conducted reconnaissance of the camp, Syed Muneer-Ul-Hasan-Qadri a JeM over-ground worker and Tariq Ahmad Dar, a Pulwama based timber merchant. These three people were in constant touch with Mufti Ashghar, JeM commander based at Muzaffarabad through WhatsApp voice and text messages. [Back to Contents ]

Ramzan Operational Restraint reviewed and Called Off

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir after two days visit of Home Minister to Srinagar on June 7-8, 2018. After the review and in the context of the upcoming Amarnath Yatra on June 28, 2018, the Government decided to call off the restraint of counter-terror operations on June 16, 2018. This operational restrain in counter-terror operation was introduced as a goodwill gesture during the month of Ramzan. The killing of a journalist in broad daylight in Srinagar on June 14, 2018, and abduction and murder of Rifleman Aurangzeb on same day, were apparently factored in prompting the MHA to reconsider its decision about operational restraint. [Back to Contents ]

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