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Security Brief – 16 December 2020

Indian iPhone factory attacked by angry workers [Wall Street Journal]

  • Indian television showed workers throwing stones, tossing office furniture and setting fire to a sign at Wistron Corp. operations near Bangalore.
  • Labor leaders said workers at the Taiwanese-owned company that is a contract manufacturer for Apple Inc. were upset about wages and working hours.
  • Indian Police detained 100 people and were investigating the incident as well as claims by protesting workers that they hadn’t been paid.
  • Protests would impact India’s reputation & opportunities for foreign direct investment.

CoBRA Deputy Commandant wounded in Bastar IED blast dies [Hindustan Times]

  • Dy Cdt Vikas Kumar of 208 CoBRA battalion of Central Reserve Police Force, succumbed to his injuries on 14 December 2020, which he sustained during IED planted by Maoists in Sukma area of Chhattisgarh.
  • On November 29, Asst Comdt of the same Police Commando Battalion was killed in an IED blast by Maoists in Sikkam.

ISRO to launch communication satellite CMS-01 on December 17 [Defense Aviation Post]

  • India will launch a communication satellite CMS-01, formerly named GSAT-12R, on Dec 17.
  • CMS-01 is a communication satellite envisaged for providing services in Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum, which will include the Indian mainland, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.

Project 17A: Indian Navy set for a big boost as GRSE gets ready to launch all-new stealth frigate [Swarajyamag, Asianet News]

  • In a boost for the Indian Navy’s capabilities and arsenal, India is set to launch the first of three stealth frigates being built by it for the Navy under ‘Project 17A’.
  • The P17A class frigates are being built using indigenously developed steel and fitted with weapons and sensors along with Integrated Platform Management System.
  • The P17A ships will be equipped with BrahMos SSM, LRSAM systems (Forward & Aft configuration) with M F STAR radar, indigenous sonar, and triple tube heavy torpedo launcher.

India, Iran, Uzbekistan to hold first trilateral talks on the use of strategic Chabahar port [Voice India, Hindustan Times]

  • India, Iran and Uzbekistan held virtual dialogue, first time on the joint use of Chabahar.
  • India pitching Uzbekistan for participating in the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to which Uzbek president gave his in-principle concurrence.
  • INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode transport project among India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe.

The cadets of 2020 batch commissioned into Indian Army at IMA [Times of India]

  • Indian Military Academy held a passing out parade of the 2020 batch in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun on 12 Dec 2020. 300 cadets have now been promoted to army officers.
  • 42 Afghan cadets, highest number amongst foreigners (total 70), got commission from Dehradun. Till date, over 700 Afghan GCs have passed out from IMA.

Budgam, Kashmir walnut production drops by 97% a year [Rising Kashmir]

  • The production of walnuts in central Kashmir’s Budgam district has fallen by 97% in 2019-20. From 9585 metric tons in previous year, only 250 metric tons recorded this year.
  • Reason for decline, lockdown and prolonged curfews in addition to untimely windstorms and rains.

Indian Navy Orders Israeli Rifle Mounted Anti-Drone Systems [The Defense Post]

  • The Indian Navy has ordered an unspecified number of SMASH 2000 Plus rifle mounted systems from an Israeli firm to counter drone threat.
  • The device, manufactured by Smart Shooter, increases a rifle’s shooting accuracy for a variety of targets, both stationary and mobile, through its fire control computer.
  • The system will be installed mainly on AK-47 and AK-47 203 rifles.
  • Indian Army and Border Security Force are in talks with manufacturer to buy additional systems.
  • SMASH 2000+ scope enables an assault rifle to lock onto moving targets.

India eyes new defence partnership as Army Chief General Naravane visits West Asia [WION]

  • General MN Naravane is the first army chief to visit the UAE and Saudi Arabia on a trip designed to create a military alliance with two Gulf powers.
  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia are reportedly interested in India’s Brahmos missile.

J-K: Congress member arrested in Shopian for ferrying militants []

The Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested Congress party member Gowhar Ahmed Wani for allegedly ferrying militants in the Shopian district of South Kashmir.

India, Pakistan, China must stop thinking of weaponising water [Deccan Herald]

  • For the present, the swift-flowing Chenab remains the focus of India’s attention.
  • Two DPRs were prepared for the Sawalkot and Bursa dams to be built on the Chenab. But the local population in J&K are strongly opposed to their construction.

Abu Dhabi’s Lulu supermarket complicit in settler colonialism in Kashmir, activists say [Middle East Eye]

  • Abu Dhabi-based Indian-owned company launches Fruit processing center in Srinagar, raising ire of Kashmiris.
  • The initial MoU would be worth $8m and create 300 jobs. It has also been reported that Lulu would be looking for land for its processing plant in February 2021.
  • The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce estimated the economic losses since August 2019 at $5.3bn, including half a million job losses for Kashmiris.

There Is Only One Way Out of Afghanistan, And It Requires Cooperating with Regional Powers [Foreign Affairs]

  • US should draw down as part of a coordinated regional strategy that seeks to capitalize on areas of alignment between the US and regional powers.
  • China could be enticed to step up military cooperation in part because of its interest in northeast Afghanistan, which borders the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
  • Instead of opposing the BRI, the US should seek to influence it.

Israel joins UAE-based international body fighting organized crime [Times of Israel]

  • In an unprecedented move, Israel officially joined the International Security Alliance (ISA) on Wednesday, becoming its tenth member and joining countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain.
  • Other countries in the alliance include France, Italy, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, And Slovakia.
  • UAE data is now officially open to Israel.

Russian hackers broke into federal agencies, U.S. officials suspect [NYT]

Most sophisticated and perhaps largest hacks in five years, email systems were breached at the Treasury and Commerce Departments. Other breaches are under investigation

Russian nuclear submarine test-fires four missiles [Stars and Stripes]

  • A Russian nuclear submarine successfully test-fired four intercontinental ballistic missiles in a show of readiness of Moscow’s nuclear forces amid tension with the US.
  • Vladimir Monomakh submarine of the Pacific Fleet launched four Bulava missiles in quick succession from an underwater position in the Sea of Okhotsk hitting their designated targets more than 3,400 miles away.

Russia approves draft budget for next three years [TASS]

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the federal budget for 2021-23. The budget projects a deficit in all three years, however, prioritizes national projects and social spending.
  • Russian volume of GDP is $1.5 trillion in 2021, $1.7 trillion in 2022 and $1.8 trillion in 2023 almost with a budget deficit of 18 %.

US Navy future amphibious ships will be designed to operate off China’s coast [Military News]

  • US Navy calls for building 10 light amphibious warships that will operate independently of the amphibious ready groups of US Marine units.
  • New warships, capable of delivering 75 Marines straight from the sea onto a beach, will operate in and around the first chain of islands off China’s coast.
  • The regiments being tested out in Hawaii, include infantry, logistics and anti-air personnel.

US court denies bail to 26/11 accused Tahawwur Rana, asserts he is flight risk [The Print]

  • Rana, who has been declared a fugitive, was re-arrested on 10 June in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India for his involvement in the Mumbai terror attack.
  • The Court ruled it cannot find that he has negated the risk of flight and as such granted the request of the US government to the continued detention of Rana.
  • The US has not honored the extradition request by India.

US deploys long-range bombers, aircraft carrier to Middle East to deter Iran [Al-Monitor]

  • The US Air Force launched the second short-term deployment of B-52 heavy bombers to the ME as Washington reduces its military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • The B-52 deployment comes amid the return of the USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf.
  • American B-52s were previously deployed to the region after the killing of Soleimani on Jan. 3.

Mike Pompeo blasts MIT for refusing to host him due to Chinese interests [New York Post]

  • Officials at the department found US universities failed to declare $6.5 billion in funding from foreign countries like China and Saudi Arabia.
  • The chairman of Harvard University’s chemistry department was charged in January with lying about working with Chinese research agencies.
  • US Justice department revealed that Chinese consulates in more than two dozen US cities are aiding undercover Communist Party soldiers posing as students to engage in espionage.

Is Pakistan edging closer to formal recognition of Israel? By Tom Hussain [SCMP]

  • “Pakistan patently feed wrong information to see how this kind of balloon will fly and then have clear deniability because the story wasn’t factual to begin with”
  • The implication was that Pakistan’s intelligence tsar, Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, may have been involved – an executive jet used by Pakistan’s top generals flew into Amman, Jordan, and remained parked.


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