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

March 01 – 15, 2018



Government enhances financial delegation to the Armed Forces;
Modernisation of Defence Sector;
Strategic Partnership Model in Defence Acquisition ;
Exercise MILAN 2018 concluded at Andaman and Nicobar Islands;
Tejas to be an important component of IAF’s air-defence system;

International Terrorism:

Anti-Daesh Operation at Kirkuk;
19,000 Daesh Fighters were killed in last 3 years in Iraq;
Attempt by Daesh militants to re-capture territory in East Syria;
Afghanistan-Kabul Attack;
Takhar Attack;
Airstrike at Nangarhar;
Pakistan-Raiwind Suicide Attack;
UAE-Suicide attack at Aden;
Africa-Rising footprint of Al Qaeda in Africa;
Terror attack at Borno;
Nigeria to restrain Boko Haram's access to Explosive;
NISA security Operations at Mogadishu;

Domestic Terrorism:

J&K -Encounters at Bandipora, Shopian and Anantnag;
633 Ceasefire violations by Pakistan in 2018;
NIA raids Central Jail Srinagar;
BSF seizes large cache of Contraband;Left Wing Extremism;
Sukma Attack- nine CRPF jawans Killed;


Government enhances financial delegation to the Armed Forces

A number of initiatives have been taken by the Ministry of Defence, in the recent past, to simplify and streamline the procedures and decentralise the decision-making through delegation of powers. Now, the Government has enhanced financial delegation to the Armed Forces in respect of Revenue Procurement as well. On March 14, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved the enhancement of powers of the Vice Chief of the Armed Forces in respect of Proprietary Article Certificate (PAC) and Single Tender Enquiry (STE) procurement cases for enhancing operational preparedness. Till now, powers for procurement of articles under PAC and STE had been restricted to 50 and 5 per cent respectively of normal powers delegated for revenue procurements. With the new delegation, powers of the Vice Chiefs have been made equal to the powers delegated in competitive bidding cases. In respect of STE cases, the powers have been enhanced to 50 per cent of the powers of competitive bidding cases from the existing cap of 5 per cent of competitive bidding powers.

This delegation will greatly enhance the ability of the Armed Forces to keep a high degree of serviceability of the in-service equipment, procurement of stores including ammunition, etc. thereby leading to a significant boost in ensuring operational preparedness. [Back to Contents ]

Modernisation of Defence Sector

Modernisation of defence sector is a continuous process and is undertaken based on threat perception, operational challenges, technological changes and available resources. The process of defence acquisition is based on the fifteen years’ Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), five years Services Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP) and an Annual Acquisition Plan (AAP). Government also constantly reviews the security scenario and accordingly decides to induct appropriate defence equipment to keep the Armed Forces in a state of readiness.
On March 14, the Defence Minister informed the parliament of several initiatives undertaken by the Government to strengthen the defence industry, as per the details given below:-

• Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has been revised in 2016 wherein specific provisions have been introduced for stimulating growth of the domestic defence industry.
• A new category of procurement ‘Buy [Indian-IDMM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)]’ has been introduced in DPP-2016 to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment.
• Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model which envisages establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chain.
• The ‘Make’ Procedures has been simplified with provisions for funding of 90 percent of the development cost by the Government to the Indian Industry and reserve projects not exceeding development cost of Rs. 10 crore (Government funded) and Rs. 3 crore (Industry funded) for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME).
• Separate procedure for ‘Make-II’ sub-category has been notified wherein a number of industry friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry, individual etc., have been introduced.
• Defence Investor Cell has been created in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedure and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector.
• FDI Policy has been revised, allowing automatic approval route unto 49 percent and beyond 49 percent through the government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology, or for other reasons to be recorded.
• The Defence Products List for the purpose of issuing Industrial Licenses (ILs) under IDR Act has been revised and most of the components, parts, sub-systems, testing equipment and production equipment have been removed from the list so as to reduce the entry barriers for the industry particularly in the small and medium segment.
• The initial validity of the Industrial Licence granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 3 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 3 years on a case-to-case basis.
• Offset guidelines have been made flexible by allowing change of Indian Offset Partners (IOPs) and offset components, even in signed contracts.
• To promote the participation of private sector, Outsourcing and Vendor Development Guidelines for Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) have been issued.
• The Government has set up the Technology Development Fund (TDF), which aims at funding the development of defence and dual use technologies that are currently not available in the defence industries.
• In addition, Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap (TPCR), which gives out the details of the equipment and technologies, required by the Armed Forces, has been put in the public domain to provide the Indian Defence Industry an overview of the direction in which the Armed Forces intend to seek specific capability in the long run. [Back to Contents ]

Strategic Partnership Model in Defence Acquisition

On March 12, in a written reply informed the Rajya Sabha that under the policy on Strategic Partnerships in Defence sector, approved by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in May, 2017, the following four segments have been identified for acquisition under Strategic Partnership (SP) route:-
• Fighter Aircraft;
• Helicopters;
• Submarines;
• Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) / Main Battle Tanks (MBTs).

The Strategic Partnership Model (SPM) is a different category of Capital Acquisition in addition to the existing categories of ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’; ‘Buy (Indian)’; ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’; ‘Buy & Make’ and ‘Buy (Global)’. [Back to Contents ]

Exercise MILAN 2018 concluded at Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The 10th edition of Exercise MILAN 2018 was held from March 11-13, 2018. MILAN is a congregation of littoral navies conducted biennially by Indian Navy at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command. MILAN 2018 saw the participation of 20 ships making it the largest multilateral exercise to be conducted in the Andaman Sea. The core objective of the MILAN Exercise was to enhance interoperability between navies of the region and to exchange best practices. During the exercise, weapon firing, search and rescue operations, air defence exercises, cross-deck flying, boarding operations and medical evacuation drills were conducted. [Back to Contents ]

Tejas to be an important component of IAF’s Air-Defence System
The indigenously built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) would form an important component of an efficient and cost-effective viable air-defence system. With Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of features of air-to-air refuelling, and Derby and Python Missile integrated, the LCA is expected to be a true air superiority air defence weapon of war - light, agile and manoeuvrable. At present, the IAF is committed to procuring of 123 Tejas Aircrafts and in later phase it will procure 201 upgraded version of the aircraft. [Back to Contents ]

International Terrorism

Anti-Daesh Operation at Kirkuk
In intelligence-driven operation, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued its anti-Daesh operations in Kirkuk. In a cordoned ambush, seven odd Daesh militants were killed on March 13, 2018. Similarly, four Daesh militants were killed in an airstrike on Makhmur Mountains in Dibs region on March 11, 2018. Though the Government of Iraq had declared the liberation of its territory from the control of Daesh, thousands of Daesh militants continue to pose security threat to ISF and continue to destabilise peace in the region.

Simultaneously the ISF have begun removing tens of thousands of war leftovers from Islamic State’s former bastion in Kirkuk province. The health and environment ministries said in a statement that their teams began removing 130.000 items left over from the war against the Islamic State in Hawija, a former group stronghold southwest of Kirkuk. This clearance operation is essential as many explosives planted by Daesh militants have caused deaths even after the liberation of these regions by the ISF. The Iraqi government believes that such initiatives will facilitate the peaceful return of refugees to their home. [Back to Contents ]

19,000 Daesh Fighters were killed in last 3 years in Iraq
In an official statement on March 12, 2018, the Federal Police of Iraq declared that since October 2016 a total of 19,484 Daesh militants were killed. The anti-Daesh operations were conducted in Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin, and north of Baghdad along with Anbar. During these operations nearly 27155.496 Sq km of land was released from the clutches of Daesh by the ISF, from where nearly five million people were displaced and thousands had fled towards neighbouring countries including Syria, Turkey and other EU countries. [Back to Contents ]

Attempt by Daesh militants to re-capture territory in East Syria

Local Daesh militants made an attempt to recapture certain territory in Eastern Syria on March 11, 2018. It was an attempt to take advantage of the return of US-supported Syrian Kurdish Forces re-deployed on the Iraqi border. This was swiftly responded to and defeated by the Popular Mobilisation Forces, an Iran supported collective force consisting of Iraqi Shiite Militias and officially inducted into Iraqi Forces. [Back to Contents ]

Kabul Attack

The city of Kabul once again faced a Fedayeen attack on March 09, 2018 in which six people were killed and seven were injured. The attack was apparently intended to hit crowds gathered to commemorate the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, a political leader of the Shiite Hazara minority. The rising attacks on Shiite Mosques and Hazara gatherings hints at the possible involvement of Daesh militants. Western scholars doubt that the group could have acted alone. The attacks underscore the difficulties faced by the government in dealing with a resurgent Taliban on the one hand and the Islamic State militants who seem to have grown stronger in the recent times on the other. [Back to Contents ]

Takhar Attack

On March 09, 2018, Taliban militants launched an attack on the army outpost located in a remote area of Takhar, in which 10 policemen were killed and nine injured. The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack. Takhar is among the relatively volatile provinces in North-Eastern parts of the country where anti-government armed militants actively operate in its various districts and often carry out insurgency activities. The fighting in Takhar comes as the latest US military assessments noted that the Afghan Government controls or influences less than 56 percent of the country’s 407 districts, the lowest since December 2015. Afghan security forces have also suffered unprecedented casualties in 2017 with reported loss of around 10,000 personnel. [Back to Contents ]

Airstrike at Nangarhar

On March 14, 2018, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces conducted airstrikes in restive Achin district located in Eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence of Afghanistan in a statement confirmed the airstrike in which security forces destroyed the command and control centre of Daesh. Nangarhar has been among the relatively calm provinces in Eastern Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime but the anti-government armed militants have been attempting to expand their insurgency activities in this province during the recent years. Afghan Security Forces in association with the US forces conducts regular operations and airstrikes on Islamic State hideouts in this province. [Back to Contents ]

Raiwind Police Camp Attacked

In a suicide explosion attack on March 14, 2018, near a police camp in Raiwind in Iqbal Tehsil of Lahore, Punjab, nine police personnel were killed. The attack site is in close proximity of the house of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif. This is the first of its kind of attack in 2018, in Punjab province; however, nearly 60 people have lost their lives in various other terror strikes in this region in 2017. The town serves as the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat and hosts the annual Raiwind Markaz Ijtema. The banned Deobandi terrorist organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in a statement issued by its commander Mohammad Khorasani who termed it as a reaction to the operation against their militants. [Back to Contents ]

Suicide Attack at Aden

In a Suicide attack on Yemeni troops on March 13, 2018, six people were killed and 30 reported injured at the government’s bastion of Aden. The claim was made by Daesh in its propaganda arm Amaq. The port city of Aden is controlled by the Yemeni government and its allied Saudi led coalition. The recent terror strikes confirmed the presence of Al Qaeda and Daesh militants. Earlier, on February 24, twin suicide bombings claimed by the Daesh hit a base of an Aden counter-terrorism unit, killing five people, including a child. The Government had established its headquarters in Aden, Yemen’s second city, after the rebels forced it out of the capital. In January, Aden was rocked by deadly clashes that saw southern separatists seize much of the city from other pro-government forces. [Back to Contents ]

Rising footprint of Al Qaeda in Africa

Revived capabilities of various terror groups operating in North Africa, West Africa and the Horn of Africa have been traced in the data compiled by a think tank named Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). According to a report compiled by FDD, the threat from jihadist groups and transitional terrorist organisations operating in Africa have grown steadily over the past decade. It has resultantly turned the African continent into a crucial frontier of war on terror campaign. Groups like Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa were all included in the report as major groups operating in this region having strong allegiance to Al Qaeda. These terror groups have conducted 132 major attacks from the year 2007 to 2011. Further, since 2012 till 2017, these attacks have grown three-fold to 358. The terror groups have increased their attacks on energy infrastructure and hubs of mineral resources like protected gas pipelines. Institutions like embassies, consulates and United Nations compounds are also under such attacks. The targeted kidnappings of aid workers and tourists have also increased, the report concludes. [Back to Contents ]

Terror attack at Borno
On March 1, 2018, Boko Haram terrorist launched an attack on Nigerian Police at Rann Area of the North-Eastern state of Borno, killing four policemen and six soldiers. The policemen were of the 500 men deployed for counter-insurgency operation ‘Lafiya Dole’ to restore peace and stability in the area. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said that three aid workers were killed and three injured while a nurse was declared missing during the terrorist attack in Rann. [Back to Contents ]

Nigeria to restrain Boko Haram's access to Explosives
The Federal Government of Nigeria has launched some strategic measures to block Boko Haram terrorists’ access to explosive substances and devices. The country’s National Security Adviser’s representative Yamin Ehinnomen Musa disclosed this on March 13, 2018, in Abuja, at the commencement of the National Chemical Security Training Conference themed "Towards a Secured Importation, Distribution, Storage and Use of Chemicals in Nigeria." He added that explosive attacks had become an integral part of the Boko Haram’s terror tactics. The Government proposes to establish control over importation, transportation, storage and use of these substances by taking them out of the reach of criminal elements through strategic measures. [Back to Contents ]

NISA security operations at Mogadishu

Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) was reported to have carried out a massive security operation at Kahda district, located south of Mogadishu, on March 13, 2018. This was in response to the recent terror attacks by Al-Shabab militants against security personnel in an attack on patrol vehicle on March 11, in which one Somalian soldier lost his life. Similarly, on March 12, terrorist killed one soldier and injured several others. Post fall of Daesh, Al-Shabab has revived its alliance with Al-Qaeda. [Back to Contents ]

Domestic Terrorism

Jammu and Kashmir - Encounters at Bandipora, Shopian and Anantnag
In an intelligence-driven operation by Army, CRPF and Jammu & Kashmir Police on March 01, 2018, at Hajin area of Bandipora District, one Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist of Pakistani descent was killed and arms and ammunition, including AK 47 rifles, and other incriminating materials were recovered from the encounter site. In another encounter on March 04, 2018 at Shopian, two LeT terrorists and four over ground workers (OGW) were killed by the security forces. Internet and rail services were suspended across South Kashmir and businesses and markets stayed shut in Srinagar. Authorities also imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar city to prevent protests called by the separatists against the counter-terror operation.

In yet another intelligence-based operation on March 12, 2018, the security forces killed three terrorists at Anantnag. They were identified as Eisa Fazili of Soura, (Srinagar), Syed Owais Shafi of Kokernag, (Anantnag) and Ansar of Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a resident of Hyderabad (Telangana) and member of Al- Qaeda’s cell in Kashmir. Security forces recovered AK 47 rifles, pistols and hand grenades from the encounter site. [Back to Contents ]

633 Ceasefire violations by Pakistan in 2018
On 13 March, 2018, the Union Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir, informed the Lok Sabha that out of the 633 ceasefire violations by Pakistan till February 28, in 2018 so far, 432 violations were recorded at the Line of Control and 201 at the International Border. Only in two months of 2018, the attacks and ceasefire violations by Pakistan have increased multi-fold. In these incidents, 59 civilians were injured and 14 lost their lives. Besides, six security personnel (two Army and four BSF) were killed and 40 (18 Army and 22 BSF) were injured. The minister further said that the Government has sanctioned construction of 14,460 bunkers to mitigate the hardships being faced by people due to cross-border Firing. [Back to Contents ]

NIA raids Central Jail Srinagar

On March 13, 2018, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), along with commandos of National Security Guards (NSG), raided the high-security central Jail at Srinagar. This is the first of its kind raid by the NIA, in which it recovered huge cache of jihadi literature, hand-made and painted posters of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad along with Pakistani flags. NIA also recovered 25 mobile phones, sim cards, digital cards, pen drives, iPod and a large number of documents and articles, and dangerous items like screwdrivers, pipes, knives, etc. The raid was conducted by the NIA after a thorough investigation and arrest of two fresh recruits of Al-Badr terrorist organisation, who were being sent across for arms training in furtherance of a conspiracy hatched from inside the Central Jail, Srinagar. [Back to Contents ]

NIA questions Salahuddin’s family terror funding case; arrests them

The NIA questioned total six people including family members of Hizbul Mujahideen’s chief Syed Salahuddin on March 14, 2018, in connection with a terror funding case. NIA also detained two sons of Salahuddin, Javaid Ahmed and Mohammad Mojeed, and son-in-law Mohammad Umar, for their alleged involvement in receiving illicit funds through a US-based wire transfer company. Another son of Salahuddin, Shahid Yousuf, is already in Tihar Jail. The agency alleged that Yusuf was also “one of several Indian contacts” of a hawala operator based in Saudi Arabia and identified as Aijaz Ahmed Bhat, and was alleged to have been in telephonic contact with him for receiving money transfer codes. [Back to Contents ]

BSF Seizes large cache of Contraband
In an intelligence-based operation, the Border Security Force (BSF) seized a large cache of contraband in two different operations in Punjab. In the first incident on March 14, 2018, BSF officials seized 15 kg of heroin in three sectors of Firozpur Range. In the second case, 11 kg of heroin were seized at the border post of Ramkot, Amritsar. BSF arrested 19 Indian smugglers in these operations, while 12 sim cards of Pakistani mobile operators, eight Indian sim cards, one Gun, 10 magazines, 312 Mobile phones, three hand grenades and Pakistani currency were recovered. [Back to Contents ]

Left Wing Extremism - Sukma Attack

In a heinous attack on CRPF convoy, nine CRPF jawans were killed when the Naxals blew up a mine protected vehicle (MPV) in Sukma District on March 13, 2018. A day earlier, 10 CPI-Maoists workers were killed by the Greyhounds of Telangana Police at Chattisgarh Border. In the recent past, CRPF has achieved area dominance over core operational areas of the Naxals, which made the Palodi camp a straight challenge to the Maoist's battalions operating in this region. The Sukma attack is seen as a direct response of the Naxals to the CRPF operations in this area. [Back to Contents ]

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