VIF News Digest: National Security - Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-30 November 2021
Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF

DEFENCE

  • Commissioning of Visakhapatnam and Vela.
  • 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
  • India-France Disarmament and Non-proliferation Dialogue.
  • 23rd Meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs.
  • Defence Acquisition Council approves proposal of value Rs. 2,236 Cr.
  • Raksha Mantri visits Bangladesh High Commission on the occasion of Armed Forces Day of Bangladesh.
  • Raksha Mantri virtually inaugurates 5th World Congress on Disaster Management.
  • Inaugural 2+2 Dialogue of the Foreign and Defence Ministers of India and the Russian Federation.
  • 6th edition Indo-France joint military exercise “Ex Shakti 2021”.
  • Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) Focused Operation.
  • Replacement of Helicopters.
  • 25th Chief of the Naval Staff.

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

“Afghan territory does not become a source of radicalisation and terrorism,” agreed India and France.

Australasia
  • Australia listed Hizbu’llah as a terrorist organisation.
Africa
Somalia
  • Seven people were killed in an explosion in Southern Bay region.
Niger
  • ISWAP and Boko Haram are establishing their presence in the State: Niger State Govt.
Afghanistan
  • Hundreds of Taliban terrorists are deployed to fight with Islamic State in Eastern Afghanistan.
Indonesia
  • Police arrested 24 people linked with Jemaah Islamiyah.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
  • Al-Qa’ida case (UP): NIA searched multiple locations in Shopian and Budgam.
  • Security forces killed a HM commander in Kulgam.
  • Three TRF terrorists eliminated in Srinagar.
  • Police arrested three JeM’s OGWs from Jammu-Srinagar NH.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • CPI Maoist Encounter case (Bastar): NIA searched several locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • Police arrested seven Maoists from Telangana.
  • Maoists blown-up railway tracks in Jharkhand.
Khalistan-inspired Extremism
  • NIA filed charge-sheet against BKI terrorist in a conspiracy case.
Islamic Extremism
  • IS Kasaragod module case: NIA court convicted and sentenced an IS terrorist in the case.
  • Islamic State conspiracy case: NIA officials arrested an IS terrorist from Karnataka.
  • In new video, al-Qa’ida chief criticised UN for being ‘unsympathetic’ towards Islam.

CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

  • India & the United Kingdom discussed ways to deepen the bilateral cyber cooperation.

DEFENCE

Commissioning of Visakhapatnam and Vela.

Commissioning of ‘Visakhapatnam’, the first stealth guided missile destroyer ship of the Project 15B was in the presence of RM on 21 Nov 21. Commissioning of Vela, the fourth submarine of Project-75 was done on 25 Nov 21 and the Chief Guest for the event was Chief of Naval Staff. INS Vela would form part of the Western Naval Command’s Submarine fleet and would be another potent part of its arsenal.
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7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).

The 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs was hosted by French Navy at Paris from 15 - 16 Nov 21.The IONS Chair is presently held with France.
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India-France Disarmament and Non-proliferation Dialogue.

It was held on 18 November 2021 in Paris. The Indian delegation was led by the Joint Secretary, Disarmament and International Security Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and the French side was led by the Head of Strategic, Security and Disarmament Affairs, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France. The two sides discussed developments on the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda relating to nuclear, chemical, biological domains, as well as outer space security, conventional weapons and export controls.
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23rd Meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs.

The meeting was held on 18 November 2021. The Indian delegation was led by Additional Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs. The Director General of the Boundary & Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the Chinese delegation. The two sides had candid and in-depth discussions on the situation along the LAC in Western Sector of India-China Border Areas and also reviewed the developments since the last meeting of the Senior Commanders of both sides which was held on 10th October 2021. In this regard they agreed on the need to find an early resolution to the remaining issues along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols so as to restore peace and tranquillity. The two sides also agreed that both sides should in the interim also continue to ensure a stable ground situation and avoid any untoward incident.

It was agreed that both sides should hold the next (14th) round of the Senior Commanders meeting at an early date to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all the friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols.
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Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approves proposal of value Rs. 2,236 Cr.

The DAC)in its meeting of 23 November 2021 held under the Chairmanship of RM accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for one Capital Acquisition proposal of Indian Air Force for its modernization and operational needs amounting to Rs. 2,236 Cr. under the category of ‘Make in India’. The procurement proposal was for GSAT-7C Satellite and Ground Hubs for real-time connectivity of Software Defined Radios (SDRs). The project envisages complete design, development and launching of satellite in India. Induction of GSAT-7C Satellite and Ground Hubs for Software Defined Radios (SDRs) will enhance the ability of our Armed Forces to communicate beyond Line of Sight (LoS) among one another in all circumstances in a secure mode.
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Raksha Mantri (RM) visits Bangladesh High Commission on the occasion of Armed Forces Day of Bangladesh.

RM paid a visit to the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi on November 22, 2021 on the occasion of Armed Forces Day of Bangladesh, which is celebrated on 21st November every year. The event was organised by the Bangladesh High Commission. High Commissioner of Bangladesh Mr Muhammad Imran, Ambassadors and Heads of Mission, Officers from Armed Forces of Bangladesh and other friendly nations and war veterans were among those present. In his address, he wished them the very best in their endeavour towards peace and security. And of the extraordinary significance for India-Bangladesh relations as marks the Golden Jubilee of the Liberation of Bangladesh and the fifty years India-Bangladesh diplomatic ties.

Raksha Mantri virtually inaugurates 5th World Congress on Disaster Management.

The RM in his speech brought out in his speech that while each of elements associated with disaster management requires equal attention, developing an effective response mechanism to address humanitarian crises and natural disasters is one of the most important pillars of SAGAR(Security and Growth for All in the Region). India’s engagement with the world and especially the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has been robustly strong, he said, lauding the Armed Forces for being the first responders in the region for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. He said, India’s unique position in the IOR, complemented by a capability of the Armed Forces, enables it to contribute significantly in HADR situations.
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Inaugural 2+2 Dialogue of the Foreign and Defence Ministers of India and the Russian Federation.

The first meeting of the 2+2 Dialogue between India and the Russian Federation at the level of Foreign and Defence Ministers will be held in New Delhi on 6 December 2021. Raksha Mantri and External Affairs Minister will represent the Indian side in the Dialogue. Russian Foreign Minister H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Defence Minister H.E. Mr. Sergey Shoigu will be visiting New Delhi on 5-6 December 2021 for the 2+2 Dialogue.
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6th edition Indo-France joint military exercise “Ex Shakti 2021”.

The biennial Indo - France military exercise “Ex SHAKTI- 2021” culminated on 25 November 2021 after twelve days of intense joint military training, exhibiting their combat power and dominance over the extremist groups in simulated Counter Insurgency / Counter Terrorism environment. The exercise provided opportunity to both the contingents to train in Counter Terrorism operations in joint environment under United Nations charter.
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Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) Focused Operation.

Maiden ‘Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) Focused Operation’ was conducted between the lead Maritime Security Agencies of India, Maldives and Sri Lanka on 27 and 28 November 2021. Ships and aircraft of Indian Navy (IN), Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) participatrd and operating over a vast area in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the three countries in Southern Arabian Sea.
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Replacement of Helicopters.

The Government has planned replacement of Cheetah and Chetak helicopterswith Naval Utility Helicopter, indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) manufactured by HAL under “Buy (Indian-IDDM)” project and Russian built Ka-226T as “Buy & Make (Indian)”.Initial Operational Clearance to LUH has been granted. Four Limited Series Production (LSP) LUHs (02 for Indian Army and 02 for Indian Air Force) would be manufactured by 2022-23 and eight (LSP) LUHs (04 for Indian Army and 04 for Indian Air Force) by 2023-24. This would be followed by manufacture of Series Production (SP) Helicopters by HAL.
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25th Chief of the Naval Staff.

Admiral R Hari Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC assumed command of the Indian Navy on 30 November 2021 as the 25th Chief of the Naval Staff. He succeeds Admiral Karambir Singh, PVSM, AVSM, ADCwho retires upon superannuation.
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INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

“Afghan territory does not become a source of radicalisation and terrorism,” agreed India and France.

During the 15th meeting of their Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter-Terrorism (CT) held in Paris, France, on 17 November 2021, India and France discussed the ongoing CT cooperation as a corner stone of the strategic partnership between both countries, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. Both sides shared their assessment of the evolution of the terrorist threat on their respective countries and in the regional environment.

During the meeting, India and France raised their concerns and the need to ensure that Afghan territory does not become a source of radicalisation and terrorism— regionally or globally and is never again used to threaten or attack any country, recruit or train terrorists, or to plan or finance terrorist attacks in accordance with the UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021). The next JWG meeting on CT shall be held in India in 2022 on a mutually convenient date.
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Australasia
Australia listed Hizbu’llah as a terrorist organisation.

On 24 November 2021, Australia proscribed all of Hizbu’llah as a ‘terrorist organisation’, extending an existing ban on armed units to the entire organisation. “The Iran-backed Shiite group continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to the terror group and poses a real and credible threat to Australia. Despite Australia has large Lebanese community, Australia bans the membership of the organisation, and providing funds.
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Africa
Somalia
Seven people were killed in an explosion in Southern Bay region.

On 19 November 2021, seven people were killed and 11 injured in a bomb explosion in crowded market in the town of Bardale in Southern Bay region of Somalia. During the morning hours, when shoppers crowded at the market, the explosion took place. No group had claimed the responsibility of the attack. “Al-Shabaab terrorists are apparently behind this attack, and they did so to avenge civilians for the continuous government troops’ offensive on their hideout in the region,” said Bardale’s District Commissioner (DC)— Mohamed Isaq Ara’ase.
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Niger
ISWAP and Boko Haram are establishing their presence in the State: Niger State Govt.

In a press briefing on 23 November 2021, the Secretary to the Niger State Government— Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, raised concerns over the presence of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram terrorists in Borgu and Shiroro Local Government Areas of the Niger State. The ISWAP has already established their camps in Babana— a border town between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.
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Afghanistan
Hundreds of Taliban terrorists are deployed to fight with Islamic State in Eastern Afghanistan.

To counter the presence of Islamic State (IS), hundreds of Taliban terrorists deployed in eastern Afghanistan amid an increasingly violent conflict and crucial test of the Taliban’s so-called counter-terrorism (CT) abilities post-US withdrawal. “Over 1,300 additional Taliban ‘fighters’ have been deployed to Nangarhar province last month in order to increase operations against the Islamic State Khurasan Province (IS-KP) terrorists,” said a Taliban security official on the basis of anonymity.

“The fight is difficult, and sometimes it is brutal; but we have to eradicate Daesh not only from Afghanistan, but from the entire world,” said Qari Nurullah Fateh— a Taliban terrorist deployed under the Taliban’s intelligence wing in Jalalabad.
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Indonesia
CTS arrested 24 people linked with Jemaah Islamiyah.

On 25 November 2021, Indonesia’s Counter-Terrorism Squad (CTS)— “Densus 88” had arrested 24 people in connection with fundraising and association with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). “Of 24 people, 14 belong to Baitul Maal Abdurrahman bin Auf (an alms collecting foundation), and 10 are from Syam foundation (a fund-raising organisation),” said the Head and Senior Commander of Densus 88’s Operation Assistance Unit— Aswin Siregar.
According to the financial reports of both foundations— Baitul Maal Abdurrahman bin Auf collected around IDR 15 billion (about 1.05 million USD) per year, whereas Syam foundation collected around IDR 14 billion (about 0.98 million USD) per year. JI is a south-east Asian terrorist group, associated with al-Qa’ida, and behind the bombing incidents in Bali province in 2002.
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DOMESTIC TERRORISM

Jammu and Kashmir
Al-Qa’ida case (UP): NIA searched multiple locations in Shopian and Budgam.

On 25 November 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials carried out searches at five locations in Shopian and Budgam districts in connection with registered case — RC-02/2021/NIA-LKW (al-Qa’ida case- Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh).

In the case, al-Qa’ida terrorist— Umar Halmandi, and other accused terrorists, had been radicalising and recruiting people for al-Qa’ida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) terrorist group, and tried to raise Ansar Ghazwatul-Hind (AGuH) to carry out terrorist activities. During the search, several incriminating documents and digital devices have been seized.
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Security forces killed a HM commander in Kulgam.

On 18 November 2021, security forces eliminated a key Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM)’s district commander— Mudasir Ahmad Wagay, in a gun-battle in Ashmuji village of Kulgam district in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). After the security forces ascertained the presence of a terrorist, the civilians were evacuated, followed by a message of surrender to the terrorists. However, Wagay opened fire, triggering a gun-fight. A day before, five terrorists were eliminated in two separate counter-terrorism (CT) operations in Gopalpora and Pombai areas of Kulgam district.
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Three TRF terrorists eliminated in Srinagar.

On 24 November 2021, security forces killed three unidentified terrorists of ‘The Resistance Front’ (TRF) terror group, in a gun-battle in Rambagh area of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
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Police arrested three JeM’s OGWs from Jammu-Srinagar NH.

On 17 November 2021, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police arrested three Over-Ground Workers (OGWs) of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)— i) Fayaz Ahmad Dar, ii) Umar Farooq, and iii) MauzamParvaiz, at checkpoint at Sidhra bridge in Nagrota area on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway (NH). “There were credible inputs about a cash consignment being shifted from Punjab to south Kashmir to fund anti-India activities. A vehicle, bearing Registration number of Delhi, was stopped for checking and while frisking the vehicle, two bags of cash were recovered,” said Jammu’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Chandan Kohli. Three OGWs were arrested, and cash worth ₹ 43 lakh recovered from the vehicle.
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Left-Wing Extremism
CPI Maoist Encounter case (Bastar): NIA searched several locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

On 18 November 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched 14 locations in seven districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, in connection to the CPI Maoist encounter case of Bastar, Chhattisgarh. During the search, several incriminating documents, Maoist literature, and digital devices were seized.
The case— RC/1/2021/NIA/RPR, relates to the gun-battle between CPI (Maoist) operatives and security forces (joint team of District Reserve Guard, Special Task Force, and CRPF), in which six Maoists and a civilian were killed.
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Police arrested seven Maoists from Telangana.

On 22 November 2021, police arrested seven Maoists during a combing operation in Kunrapalli forest area in Cherla Mandal in Bhadradri-Kothagudem in Telangana. According to police’s statement, Maoists were arrested while they were trying to put up wall-posters related to the protests called by the CPI (Maoist) Bhadradri-Kothagudem-East Godavari Division District committee.
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Khalistan-inspired Extremism
NIA filed charge-sheet against BKI terrorist in a conspiracy case.

On 25 November 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge-sheet before the NIA Special Court (New Delhi) against a Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist— Hardeep Singh Nijjar, currently residing in Surrey in Canada, in a case— RC 15/2018/NIA/DLI related to conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks in India. The charge-sheet filed under Sections 120-B, 153-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Sections 13, 17, 18, 20, 38, and 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A].
Hardeep Singh Nijjar is also associated with ‘Sikh For Justice (SFJ)’— a pro-Khalistan group, and has been trying to radicalise Sikh community worldwide in favour to establish Khalistan.
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Islamic Extremism
IS Kasaragod module case: NIA court convicted and sentenced an IS terrorist in the case.

On 23 November 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court in Kerala, convicted and sentenced an Islamic State (IS) terrorist— Nashidul Hamzafar (28 years-old), to three years of Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), five years of RI with fine of ₹ 10,000 under Section 125 of IPC, five years of RI under Section 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], and five years of RI under Section 39 of the UA(P)A.
The case— RC-02/2016/NIA/KOC was registered pertaining to activities of 14 youth, along with their families, left India between May and July 2016, and had joined IS.
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Islamic State conspiracy case: NIA officials arrested an IS terrorist from Karnataka.

On 17 November 2021, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials arrested an Islamic State (IS) terrorist— Zuhab Hameed aka Shakeel Manna aka Zohaib Manna, from Bengaluru, Karnataka. On 19 September 2020, the NIA had registered a case— RC-33/2020/NIA/DLI, against Muhammad Tauqir Mahmood, Zuhab Hameed aka Shakeel Manna, Irfan Nasir, and Mohd Shihab, for their alleged association with proscribed terrorist organisation— IS or Daesh.
According to statement released by the NIA, all arrested terrorists were key conspirators in raising funds, radicalising Muslim youth through ‘Quran Circle Group’ and recruited them to join IS in Syria, travelling via Turkey.
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In new video, al-Qa’ida chief criticised UN for being ‘unsympathetic’ towards Islam.

Al-Qa’ida’s media wing— As-Sahab media, released a new video of organisation’s chief— Ayman al-Zawahiri in which the leader can be seen criticising the United Nations (UN) for being ‘unsympathetic’ or hostile towards Islam. In the video, Zawahiri said that “the UN was created by the victorious powers in the World War II with the aim of imposing a political system and doctrine on the entire world, and with a view to establishing their hegemony over the rest of mankind.” However, the authenticity of the video is uncertain.
Further in the video, Zawahiri criticised the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)— the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China.
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CYBER, INFORMATION WARFARE & AI (SECURITY PERSPECTIVE)

India & the United Kingdom discussed ways to deepen the bilateral cyber cooperation.

During the first (virtual) meeting of the India-United Kingdom (UK) Joint Working Group (JWG) on Cyber Deterrence, held on 25 November 2021, both sides [India & UK] discussed several essential aspects related to cyber deterrence and ways to further deepen the existing bilateral cyber cooperation under the India-UK Framework for the Cyber Relationship. The Indian delegation was led by Atul Malhari Gotsurve— Joint Secretary (Cyber Diplomacy), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India, and the UK delegation was led by Will Middleton—Cyber Director, Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), UK. The discussion was attended by senior cyber officials from respective Ministries and Departments from both the countries.

The India-UK Framework for the Cyber Relationship was inked on 17 April 2018 in New Delhi, India. Under the framework, India and the UK agreed to work closely and hold regular consultations on addressing the challenges to cyber-deterrence and for building effective cyber-deterrence strategies.
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