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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Jaishankar Takes Swipe At Pakistan, China In UNGA Address, Refers To Cross-Border Terrorism, Listing of Terrorists


New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday gave a stern message to China over its blocking blacklisting of terrorists at the UN, saying those who politicize the UNSC 1267 Sanctions regime, to defend proclaimed terrorists, do so at their own peril.

Without mentioning Pakistan, Jaishankar referred to its support to cross-border terrorism and said that "no rhetoric, however sanctimonious can ever cover-up blood stains."

"The United Nations responds to terrorism by sanctioning its perpetrators. Those who politicize the UNSC 1267 Sanctions regime, sometimes to the extent of defending proclaimed terrorists, do so at their own peril. Believe me, they advance neither their own interests nor indeed their reputation," Jaishankar said at the United Nations General Assembly without naming China.

"Having borne the brunt of cross-border terrorism for decades, India firmly advocates a 'zero-tolerance' approach. In our view, there is no justification for any act of terrorism, regardless of motivation," Jaishankar added.

Resolution 1267 provides for sanctions against individuals and entities that support or finance the acts or activities of ISIL, Al-Qaida, associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.

Jaishankar invited all the member states of the UN to participate in the Counter-Terrorism Committee in Mumbai and New Delhi.

He also said that India needs to create a global architecture that responds to the new tech tools deployed against open, diverse and pluralistic societies.

"Having borne the brunt of cross-border terrorism for decades, India firmly advocates a 'zero-tolerance' approach. In our view, there is no justification for any act of terrorism, regardless of motivation. And no rhetoric, however sanctimonious can ever cover up blood stains," Jaishankar said in the UNGA.

During the session, External Affairs Minister said that the reforms in Security Council received support from the UN members. He further said that the UN members support the reform because it recognized that the current architecture is anachronistic and ineffective.

Jaishankar also said that the justice of the global south is "decisively addressed"

"It is also perceived as deeply unfair, denying entire continents and regions a voice in a forum that deliberates their future. India is prepared to take up greater responsibilities. But it seeks at the same time to ensure that the injustice faced by the Global South is decisively addressed," Jaishankar said.

"Our call is to allow serious negotiations on such a critical matter to proceed sincerely. They must not be blocked by procedural tactics. Naysayers cannot hold the IGN process hostage in perpetuity. In these turbulent times, it is essential that the world listens to more voices of reason. And experiences more acts of goodwill. India is willing and able on both counts. We believe and advocate that this is not an era of war and conflict. On the contrary, it is a time for development and cooperation," he added.

On September 16, China put a hold on a proposal moved at the United Nations by the US and co-supported by India to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, Sajid Mir as a "global terrorist."

He is India's most wanted terrorist and was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The US moved the proposal and co-designated by India to blacklist Mir under the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council as a global terrorist.

It is the third time that China has blocked an India-US proposal in recent months after Abdul Rehman Makki, LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) leader as well as Abdul Rauf Azhar, the brother of Jaish-e Mohammed (JEM) chief Masood Azhar was protected by Beijing.

Abdul Rehman Makki is a LeT Deputy Commander and brother-in-law of Hafiz Saeed, founder of the LeT. The UN Committee has also declared JuD, the political branch of the LeT, a terrorist front group.

Sajid Mir is a top Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) Commander and is in charge of the "India Setup" of LeT.


HAL Exhibits Weapons Package For Light Combat Helicopter At AAD2022


The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to formally raise its first unit of indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) in Jodhpur in the first week of October coinciding with Air Force Day on October 8.

Ten LCHs will be inducted in the first batch completing one unit, a defence official said on Monday. The IAF is still working out the total number of LCHs to be acquired, the official stated.

The IAF operates the older Russian Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack helicopters, of which one squadron has been phased out following the induction of 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. The existing Mi-35 squadron is in the process of being sent for overhaul which will extend its life by many years, the official stated.

The Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) is Africa’s only aerospace and defence expo that combines both a trade exhibition and an air show. Held biennially in the City of Tshwane – South Africa’s administrative capital, the AAD Expo is one of South Africa’s largest contributors to the country’s GDP in show years, and is regarded as a national asset.


HAL exhibited a complete and formidable weapons package at AAD 2022. It is evident from the above graphic that the LCH has the capability to carry ATGMs, Air-To-Air Missiles and Rockets package and other high-tech defensive systems.


EAM Jaishankar Convinces Major Powers On Threat From China


There was also massive support for India’s claim for a permanent UNSC seat

NEW DELHI: “Feedback is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s favourite term.” This was said by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar while he was speaking during a conversation on a book on Narendra Modi’s 20 years in public office in New York. Jaishankar is presently in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and UNSC sessions. These are not simply the words expressed by Jaishankar. He has actually got several “positive feedbacks” at the UN to return to India with. The feedbacks that Jaishankar would be keen to share with the Prime Minister include massive support from various world leaders for India’s claim for a permanent UNSC seat, the global community’s endorsement of India’s views on China’s aggression and Pakistan’s terror nexus, voices from various world quarters seeking PM Modi’s intervention in ending the Ukraine war in what raises India’s stature further on the global forum, appreciation of New Delhi’s balanced approach towards the Ukraine crisis, UK PM Liz Truss wanting an urgent meeting with PM Modi, and what not. Several diplomats who The Sunday Guardian spoke to, described Jaishankar’s diplomatic mission at the UN as a grand success. All the officials and diplomats listed the achievements as well to buttress their claim. One of the most important diplomatic achievements, according to them, was that Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard at the UNSC referred to the Mexican President’s proposal to establish a committee “which includes India’s PM Modi and Pope to resolve the Russia Ukraine conflict”. “This raises the stature of our Prime Minister all the more on the global platform. It is a great thing that his role in defusing a humanitarian crisis is being sought by the world along with the Pope,” say diplomats. Sources said that Mexican FM’s proposal won approval from various other nations as well.

Secondly, India succeeded in sending out a meaningful and clear message from the UNSC when it slammed China for blocking the blacklisting of terrorists at UNSC and Pakistan for harbouring these terrorists. “This way, India sort of bracketed China with Pakistan in defending and patronising terrorists. China and Pakistan nexus on defending terrorists got exposed,” diplomats say. Third, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue on the platform of UNSC did not get traction, with most world leaders ignoring him and his Kashmir rant as well, sources said. “Sharif was snubbed by several leaders when he tried to speak to them personally,” sources added.

Fourth, Ukraine President Zelenskyy’s open support for India’s quest for UNSC permanent seat was a significant development. Ukraine President’s call for UNSC reforms was a message for those western countries who were trying to portray India’s Ukraine stand as showing a tilt towards Russia. “The credit goes to PM Modi, who always made it a point to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion and stuck to his stand that violence must stop and problem must be resolved through dialogue,” said a diplomat, adding that PM Modi not criticising Russia for military operation has not angered Ukraine as is evident from President Zelenskyy’s words favouring India at UNSC. This busts the West’s theory that was aimed at creating a wedge between India and Ukraine. Fifth, led by India and St. Vincent and Grenadines, 30 plus countries issued a joint statement calling for reforms of the United Nations Security Council. Obviously, UNSC reform is high on the agenda for S. Jaishankar at UN.

Jaishankar once said that diplomacy was not just about bridging positions through “wordsmithery”, adding “it is equally about bridging societies with projects. It is about connectivity, it’s about contacts and it’s about cooperation.” That’s exactly how Jaishankar carried out his diplomatic campaign during his stay so far in New York.

At the UNSC, Jaishankar hit out at Russia and China on Friday. At the UNSC session on Ukraine, recalling PM’s emphasis to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “this cannot be an era of war”, Jaishankar said: “let me emphasise that even in conflict situations, there can be no justification for violation of human rights or of international law. Where any such acts occur, it is imperative that they are investigated in an objective and independent manner. This was the position we took with regard to the killings in Bucha, and this is the position we take even today. The Council will also recall that we had then supported calls for an independent investigation into the Bucha incident.”

Jaishankar slammed Beijing for its decision to block the listing of terrorists. He said: “The fight against impunity is critical to the larger pursuit of securing peace and justice. The Security Council must send an unambiguous and unequivocal message on this count. Politics should never ever provide cover to evade accountability. Nor indeed to facilitate impunity. Regrettably, we have seen this of late in this very chamber, when it comes to sanctioning of some of the world’s most dreaded terrorists. If egregious attacks committed in broad daylight are left unpunished, this Council must reflect on the signals we are sending on impunity. There must be consistency if we are to ensure credibility.”

Top leaders of the world were present when Jaishankar lambasted China. The session was chaired by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna. It was attended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly, and foreign ministers of other UNSC members.

Earlier this month, China put a hold on a proposal moved at the United Nations by the US and co-supported by India to designate Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorist Sajid Mir, wanted for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, as a global terrorist. China has done so on earlier occasions too. Jaishankar’s message was again for China when he said, “the global order that we all subscribe to, is based on international law, UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states.” “These principles too must be upheld, without exception,” he said.

Pakistan was also under a sharp attack by the Indian team. India’s envoy at UN, Mijito Vinito slammed Islamabad for sheltering terrorists behind the horrific Mumbai attack and accused it of sponsoring cross-border terrorism. “It is regrettable that the Pakistan PM chose the platform of the Assembly to make false accusations against India. He has done so to obfuscate misdeeds in his own country, and to justify actions against India,” he said.


Jaishankar Meets UN Chief, Discusses Global Challenges


New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday (local time) met UN Security Council Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the margins of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York and discussed global challenges including Ukraine conflict.

Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said, "An extensive discussion on pressing global challenges with UN Secretary-General @antonioguterres. Agenda included the Ukraine conflict, UN reform, G20, climate action, food security and data for development."

External Affairs Minister, who is on a 10-day visit to the US, has met his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei, Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan, Saudi Arabian counterpart Faisal bin Farhan and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Achim Steiner.

"Pleasure to meet FM @AraratMirzoyan of Armenia. Appreciate his briefing on recent developments," Jaishankar said in a tweet.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Russia, Cyprus, Jordan and Venezuela in New York.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Jaishankar held wide-ranging discussions. Jaishankar earlier met Lavrov at the BRICS Foreign Ministers' annual meeting on the margins of UNGA, where members exchanged their support for the continued cooperation of BRICS members in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges amongst their Permanent Missions to the UN.

Apart from Lavrov, Jaishankar also held discussions with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on Europe. In a tweet, Jaishankar wrote, "Continued the tradition of the India-Cyprus meeting on the sidelines of UNGA. Thank FM Ioannis Kasoulides for his warm sentiments towards India and his many insights on Europe."

India had earlier thanked Cyprus for its unstinted backing of India's candidature for expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Among the other bilaterals was the meeting of Jaishankar with the Jordanian Foreign Minister. Ayman Safadi. Both the leaders exchanged views on West Asia and the global economy.

"Great to see my good friend FM Ayman Safadi of Jordan. His perspectives on West Asia and the global economy were extremely useful," wrote Jaishankar following the meeting with the Jordanian counterpart.

Jaishankar also exchanged views on the global political and economic scenarios in his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Venezuela Carlos Faria.

The EAM will be in New York from September 18 to 24, while he will visit Washington DC from September 25 to 28, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

After concluding his visit to New York on Saturday, he is scheduled to visit Washington for three days starting Sunday for what the External Affairs Ministry said for "a high-level review of the multifaceted bilateral agenda and strengthen cooperation on regional and global issues to further consolidate the India-US strategic partnership".


Discussed Ukraine, G20, UN Reforms With Russia's Lavrov, Says Jaishankar


New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that he and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov discussed various issues including Ukraine, G20 and UN reforms.

While responding to a query over meeting with the Russian counterpart, Jaishankar at the special briefing said that they have discussed host of issues.

"We discussed a number of issues. Some part of my meeting was focused on our bilateral cooperation because you know, Russia is a major partner in many domains. And obviously, there are big issues, which focus on both the Russians and the rest of the world. The relationship has to address its own requirements and its processes and its objectives... Then we some detail about issues related to Ukraine. A lot of it was he briefed me about various developments from the Russian perspective. I also shared with him, you know, what I picked up from some of the others. So that was a back and forth conversation," he said.

External Affairs Minister further said that they also held deliberations on G20 and at last, they had a conversation on UN reforms.

Recalling the meeting with Lavrov, Jaishankar said that have met for four times, one was "in Pnom Penh and then Bali and he had come to Delhi before that."

During the conference, he also said that there is a need for reforms and to develop some kind of practical path towards it.

While answering a question over America's refusal to expand the UN Security Council, Jaishankar said that there were many member countries who spoke about this "explicitly" on this from the podium.

"I think everybody says to shift and it's something which others actually brought up with me. So now, what the US said, and to some extent, what Russia has said. And by the way, there were some other countries as well, who spoke very explicitly on the from the podium."

During a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Jaishankar said, "he gave me his perception, his assessment of what you know, what was happening in Ukraine. In terms of India. I think. We had a discussion on what was our position and my sense was that he clearly appreciated the fact that we were good against the continuation of the conflict and for the return to dialogue and diplomacy."

"Of course, he had his own views on who you know why this was not happening. I mean, go nothing. He said, you will be surprised but then I think the humanitarian assistance issue came up. And there were some specific aspects of the ground situation that he brought up, which he believed were concerns for the international community as a whole. This included you know, there was discussion on the what had what had been the progress on grain the concern about fertiliser the ... there's a nuclear power plant issue. So, so you know, all this we're part of this is overall sort of description," he added.

Jaishankar also recalled the meeting of ambassadors with Ukrainian since the conflict began. "So from our perspective, it was the first contact at that high level that we had, so I think it was natural that he should spend some time giving us the Ukrainian view of the contract," he added.

During the briefing, Jaishankar told about his various engagements with other counterparts. He also said that India has been perceived today as the voice of the Global South. "There is a huge crisis right now in the world economy under where the costs of food the cost of fuel, you know, the worry about fertilisers. These are very deep anxieties for a lot of countries' debt, the debt situation for example, and there is great frustration that these issues are not being heard. They're not being voiced."

While elaborating about having numerous engagements with over 100 counterparts of other countries, he said that India is one such country which became a voice for unheard countries on the global platforms.

" They're not going up the chain in the global consoles. And to the extent, there is anybody at all who's speaking up and voicing the sentiments it is India and therefore, part of the reason why I think there were so many meetings with my counterparts was the gut feeling that you know, this is a country which speaks for many of us," he added.


India On Side of Peace And Will Remain Firmly There: Jaishankar On Russia-Ukraine War


New York: As the Ukraine war dominated the world's top diplomatic stage this week, India on Saturday strongly called for the need to end the war through diplomacy and openly addressed its stand on the Kyiv-Moscow conflict.

Speaking at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, "we are often asked whose side we are on. And our answer, each time, is straight and honest. India is on the side of peace and will remain firmly there," strongly asserted.

"We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles," he said, reiterating India's stand on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

While pressing the need for diplomacy, Jaishankar said that they are on the side that calls for dialogue.

Almost every leader during the week reiterated the impact of the conflict, "We are on the side of those struggling to make ends meet, even as they stare at escalating costs of food, fuel and fertilizers," Jaishankar said in his address.

"It is therefore in our collective interest to work constructively, both within the United Nations and outside, in finding an early resolution to this conflict," he concluded.

Less than a couple of hours before Jaishankar's address, the External Affairs Minister met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and exchanged views on Ukraine.

''A wide-ranging conversation with FM Sergey Lavrov at #UNGA 77. Discussed our bilateral cooperation. Exchanged views on Ukraine, G-20 and UN reforms,'' Jaishankar tweeted.

The meeting came just hours before Lavrov's address to the high-level UN General Assembly's general debate where he called for UNSC reform and backed India in an expanded Security Council.

During the UNSC meeting on Ukraine earlier this week, Jaishankar recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emphasis to Russian President Vladimir Putin that "this cannot be an era of war".

"Let me emphasise that even in conflict situations, there can be no justification for violation of human rights or of international law. Where any such acts occur, it is imperative that they are investigated in an objective and independent manner. This was the position we took with regard to the killings in Bucha, and this is the position we take even today. The Council will also recall that we had then supported calls for an independent investigation into the Bucha incident." Jaishankar said, making it one of the toughest statements on Russia in the last seven months, since the invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Jaishankar also met in person with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the UN headquarters here and apprised him of India's principled position that emphasises cessation of all hostilities and returns to dialogue and diplomacy.


India To Work With G20 Members To Address Issues of Debt, Food And Energy Security: Jaishankar In UN


New York: Expressing concerns about the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said India will work with the G-20 members to address serious issues of debt, economic growth, food and energy security and environment.

"As we begin the G-20 presidency this December, we are sensitive to the challenges faced by developing countries. India will work with other G-20 members to address serious issues of debt, economic growth, food and energy security and particularly, the environment. The reform of the governance of multilateral financial institutions will continue to be one of our core priorities," Jaishankar said in his address to the high-level UN General Assembly session here.

He laid stress on the economies of the developing countries which have become fragile due to the rising debt in recent times.

"The accumulation of debt in fragile economies is of particular concern. We believe that in such times, the international community must rise above narrow national agendas. India, for its part, is taking exceptional measures in exceptional times," he added.

"We do so, when we sent 50,000 metric tons of wheat and multiple tranches of medicines and vaccines to Afghanistan. When we extend credits of 3.8 billion dollars to Sri Lanka for fuel, essential commodities and trade settlement. When we supplied 10,000 metric tons of food aid and vaccine shipments to Myanmar," he said while elaborating the assistance provided by India to its neighbours.

Referring to the Ukraine conflict, Jaishankar said that the trade disruptions have further compounded the global problems.

"The debt situation of the developing is precarious. To this, is now added the rising costs and shrinking availability of fuel, food and fertilizers. These, along with trade disruptions and diversions, are among the many consequences of the Ukraine conflict. The Indo-Pacific too witnesses fresh concerns about its stability and security,' he added.

"And climate events have added an overlay on these mounting anxieties. As we saw in the case of the Covid pandemic, the South will be most impacted, even if the immediate causes are well beyond. It is imperative that global conversations recognize this unfairness. The inequity of vaccine distribution should not be replicated in other domains," he added.

While addressing the 77th United National Assembly, Jaishankar said "When we fill the gap in humanitarian needs left unaddressed by political complexity. Whether it is disaster response or humanitarian assistance, India has stood strong, contributing particularly to those nearest to us. Excellencies, The world, as we knew it, is poised for transformational changes. It has been impacted in recent times by a succession of shocks, each of them significant by itself."

During the session, Jaishankar said that the COVID pandemic has raised the question about the over-centralized nature of globalization. The Ukraine conflict has heightened the economic stresses, especially on food and energy.

Talking about climate impact, Jaishankar said that climate action and climate justice are particularly noteworthy in this respect. He further said that India has worked with partners on the International Solar Alliance, the One Sun-One World-One Grid initiative and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

Mentioning 'Lifestyle for Environment' or LiFE, as declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Glasgow on the sidelines of COP26, External Affairs Minister further said that it is a homage to Mother Nature.

"India remains deeply committed to fighting climate change under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Paris Agreement. We do so on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. We have announced our updated Nationally Determined Contributions after COP26." Jaishankar said.

"Excellencies, India's steadfast commitment to South-South Cooperation is well established. Our approach is based on principles of mutual respect and national ownership with a commitment to sustainable development for all," he added.

As India will preside at the next G20, Jaishankar said that India will address serious issues of debt, economic growth, food and energy security and particularly, the environment.

Talking about India's contribution to Security Council, Jaishankar said, "In our term, we have acted as a bridge on some serious but divisive issues confronting the Council. We have also focused on concerns such as maritime security, peacekeeping and counter-terrorism. Our contributions range from providing technology with a human touch to ensuring the safety and security of UN Peacekeepers."


Terror Groups Are Recruiting Engineer-Terrorists 

Damage caused by explosions as a result of a drone attack at the Jammu airbase, in Jammu

US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence opines that terrorists will conduct AI-powered cyberattacks and pair AI software with commercially available drones to create ‘smart weapons’

The recent issue of “Voice of Khorasan”, the Islamic State’s mouthpiece in Afghanistan and surrounding regions, had a story about Abu Bakr Al Hindi, “who was born in Kerala in a Christian family”. The Keralite figured in an IS (Islamic State) document titled “Know Your Martyrs”, which stated that Abu Bakr Al-Hindi was a Christian, who converted to Islam while working in the Gulf. According to the paper, he is the first Indian “Istishhadi” (suicide bomber) to be killed in the African continent. He was drawn to Islam and was recruited to the IS after hearing the lectures of Anwar al-Awlaki, the dreaded terrorist executed in a US drone strike in 2011. Abu Bakr Al-Hindi received military training in Sirte after arriving in Libya. In one of the suicide-terror strikes in which he participated, he is supposed to have attained martyrdom.

In March 2022, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) featured another engineering student from Kerala identified only by his assumed name, Najeeb Al Hindi, a 23-year-old MTech engineering student from Kerala. The article provided no other information on Najeeb, nor did it specify when he died or the circumstances surrounding his demise.

Another student, identified as Mir Anas Ali from Ambur in Tamil Nadu, who was studying third year engineering in a private engineering college, was arrested in Thirupathur for allegedly having contacts with terror outfit ISIS and planning a terror attack. He was arrested after a nationwide search in 29 locations was conducted by several intelligence units.

The United Nations warned in its 2020 Terrorism Report that there were a substantial number of ISIS terrorists in the Indian state of Kerala, stating that the ISIL Indian affiliate (Hind Wilayah), which was declared on 10 May 2019, has around 200 members. The report also mentions about Karnataka state as another source for recruitment by terror groups.

A National Investigation Agency charge-sheet filed in July 2020 in connection with the murder of Special Sub Inspector Wilson of the Tamil Nadu Police, revealed a strong association between IS terrorists active and growing in the state, and the strong involvement of Kerala-based terror outfits.

Syed Muhammad Arshiyan Haider, an electronics engineering graduate from the Aligarh Muslim University, whose family home is in Ranchi, was recruited by cleric Abdul Rehman Ali Khan, given a job in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, but ended up using his skills in an Islamic State team that designed suicide drones and short-range missiles that revolutionized the arsenals of terrorist groups. Since 2017, Haider, now 38, has been imprisoned in Turkey for his involvement in terrorist activities, but not many details have emerged about his life. It was during his stay in Saudi Arabia that he met his wife, ethnic-Chechen Belgian national, Alina Haider, and the couple later had a daughter.

Cleric Abdul Rehman Ali Khan was also interacting with Bangalore-based doctor Sabeel Ahmad, who had been deported to India from the UK after serving time in jail for concealing information about a terror plot in which his brother Kafeel Ahmed, an aeronautical engineer, had carried out a suicide attack on Glasgow airport in 2007.

The drones designed by Haider and his team reportedly operated upwards of 100 sorties a month, as the battle to recapture Mosul raged in 2017, targeting the Syrian Defence Force’s ammunitions supplies and logistics lines. Fifteen to sixteen strikes were being carried out in a single day. His close associate in this activity was a Pakistani national, Nihal Jaweed, a petrochemicals engineer.

In June 2021, terrorists used two drones to attack the Indian Air Force base in Jammu. The bomb blasts occurred in the premises of the technical area of the Jammu airbase. This was the first drone attack on an Indian defence establishment.

Ahmed Murtaza, an IIT Mumbai chemical engineer, was involved in attacking two police constables, with a sickle at Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, in April 2022.

The arrest of Ejaz Ahmed alias Taufique Raza, the emir of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB), in August 2019, followed a tip-off from the Intelligence Bureau. A joint team of the Bihar Police and West Bengal Special Task Force (STF) nabbed him in Gaya. Ahmed, a chemical engineer, has been closely associated with the JMB since 2008. He set up terror modules in Bengal and even set up modules in Bihar, Karnataka, and Kerala. He had mainly targeted migrant labour in these places and roped several of them into the modules.

On 25 March 2020, a group of IS bombers attacked a gurudwara—Har Rai Sahib—in Kabul, killing 25 Sikhs. The IS claimed that one of the terrorists responsible for the blast was Abu Khalid Al-Hindi. IS magazine, Al Naba, on 26 March published Al-Hindi’s photograph with a Type 56 assault rifle and making the typical Tawhid one-finger salute.

On 27 March (Friday) 2020, India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that Al-Hindi was Muhammad Muhsin, an engineering student from Thrikkarippur in Kerala’s Kasaragod district. However, intelligence sources discovered that Muhsin was killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan’s Khorasan province. Then he was identified to have hailed from Edappal in Malappuram district in Kerala.

Why is it that so many engineers are getting lured into joining terror organizations? Mohammed Atta, the 9/11 hijacker, was an architectural engineer. Two of the three founders of Lashkar e-Tayyaba, the Pakistani terrorist group, were professors at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore. Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group, is full of engineers. Jihad al-Binaa, one of its branches, had more than 2,000 engineers.

The US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence in its report of March 2021, opines that terrorists will conduct AI-powered cyberattacks and pair AI software with commercially available drones to create “smart weapons”. To be able to defend against AI-enabled threats, would need ubiquitous AI capabilities and new warfighting paradigms. A joint report prepared by United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the United Nations Counter Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) in its report, titled, “Algorithms and Terrorism: The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence for Terrorist Purposes”, has highlighted the potential risk of AI falling into the hands of terrorists.

As on January 2022, India has 3,500 engineering colleges, and 3,400 polytechnics, from where lakhs of students graduate every year. A large number of successful candidates are unable to secure proper employment, and can become an easy prey for foreign terrorist organizations and their affiliates operating in India. Many Western nations maintain discreet data about students, both, domestic and foreign, enrolling for sensitive educational programs. In India, we do not have such a system, because of which enforcement agencies are in the dark about citizens switching allegiance to foreign terror groups. This is a major lacunae that needs to be addressed immediately.


Peace Can Be Ensured Across Taiwan Only When China Is Completely 'Reunified': China At UNGA


New York: Reiterating its claim over Taiwan, China on Saturday said peace across Taiwan can be ensured only when China is completely reunified with the self-governed island nation and any move to obstruct China's reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history.

"Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across Taiwan. Any scheme to interfere in China's internal affairs is bound to meet the strong opposition of all Chinese and any move to obstruct China's reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Wang Yi said that all "stolen" territories including Taiwan shall be restored and reiterated that Taiwan has been an inseparable part of China's territory.

"Since ancient times, Taiwan has been an inseparable part of China's territory...It is explicitly stated in the Potsdam Proclamation that all the territories that Japan has stolen from the Chinese including Taiwan shall be restored to China," the Chinese Foreign minister said.

China's ruling Communist Party claims that Taiwan is part of its territory, despite having never governed it, and has refused to rule out the use of force to bring it under control.

In line, after the US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last month, China has over time reiterated that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. China claims that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China.

China's Foreign Ministry condemned Pelosi for what it described as her "vicious and provocative actions," saying her trip to Taiwan amounted to "seriously interfering in China's internal affairs." China also increased its military activities around the Island nation.

Amid the tension between US and China, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Friday and stressed for preserving peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Over an hour-long meeting, Blinken emphasized that the United States is committed to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, consistent with its longstanding one-China policy.

Both leaders discussed the need to maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage the US-PRC relationship.

Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered his armed forces, the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to develop the ability to capture Taiwan by 2027, revealed David Cohen, the Deputy Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Meanwhile, Taiwan has rejected China's "one country, two systems" formulation, believing that only the people of Taiwan can decide their own future.

Taiwan has faced the threat of invasion ever since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Nationalists fled there to set up a new government, having been chased out of the mainland by Mao Zedong's Communist Party.

More than 70 years later, the Communist Party continues to view Taiwan as something akin to a breakaway province that must be "reunified" with the mainland at all costs -- and it has made clear it is prepared to use force, if necessary, to fulfil that objective.


Russia's Lavrov Backs India For Permanent Member In UN Security Council


New York: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov backed India for becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

While addressing the 77th United Nations General Assembly, Lavrov said, "We see prospective of making Security Council more democratic via representation of countries from Africa, Asia & Latin America. India and Brazil, in particular, are key international actors and should be counted for permanent membership in the council."

While addressing the Assembly, Lavrov accused Western countries of "throwing a fit" over the referendum that is being conducted in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine on becoming a part of their federation.

The Russian Foreign Minister said the crises surrounding the war were growing, and the international situation was rapidly deteriorating, but instead of having an honest dialogue and searching for a compromise, the West was "undermining confidence in international institutions" and encouraging negative tendencies within the United Nations as well, according to UN News.

He said the United States was trying to turn the whole world into its "backyard", and together with its partners, punishing dissenters from its world view, through what he called "illegal unilateral sanctions" which violate the UN Charter, and hurt poor citizens in poorer countries, targeting their medicines, vaccines and food imports.

Earlier, India with 31 other countries in a joint statement on reforms stated that an expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, as well as reform in its working methods, is indispensable to making this body more representative, legitimate and effective, delegations reiterated.

The signatories of the joint statement stated that they reaffirm that adapting the United Nations to contemporary world realities necessarily requires urgent and comprehensive reform of the Security Council, the principal organ for international peace and security.

According to the statement, the heads of delegations were convinced of the need to restore faith in effective multilateralism, "we stand united, as a group of pro-reform like-minded States, determined to work towards a more inclusive, responsive and participatory international governance architecture," the statement reads.

"We further recognize that lack of progress in Security Council reform has serious implications, not only for the continued relevance of global governance institutions but also for global peace and security and delivering on the purposes, principles and promises of the United Nations Charter," it added.

The head of delegations recognised that a reformed Security Council must better reflect the contemporary United Nations membership, including through enhanced representation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which comprise approximately 20 per cent of the United Nations' membership.


Pak's Charge-Sheet In Case of Blast In Front of Hafiz Saeed's Home Raises Many Questions


Charge-sheet has no mention of any ‘international’ actor, though Indian agencies had been blamed by Pak politicians for the attack on Saeed

NEW DELHI: The filing last week of a charge-sheet by the Punjab (Pakistan) Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in the investigation in the 23 June 2021 blast outside the Lahore-based home of the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, Hafiz Saeed, has named three more individuals as among the accused—Samiul Haq alias Adnan, Aziz alias Ujair Akbar and Muhhamad Naveed Akhtar Khan.

Apart from these three, in January the Anti-Terror Court, Lahore, had sentenced five other suspects—Eid Gul Khan, Peter Paul David, Sajjad Hussain Shah and Ziaullah—to death apart from handing down five years of imprisonment to a woman, identified as Ayesha Biwi for her alleged role in the car suicide bombing in which three people were killed. All these eight, who have been named as an accused in the more than one -year long investigations, are Pakistani nationals.

During the whole investigation, in which several different departments of Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies took part, the name of Hafiz Saeed was never mentioned once in the official communication, with the officials merely referring to him as a “high-value target” possibly to avoid the embarrassment that comes with investigating an attack on one of the world’s most wanted global terrorists.

The charge-sheet, has however, come as an embarrassment for Pakistan President Arif Alvi, then Prime Minister Imran Khan, then information minister Fawad Chaudhry and then Pakistani national security advisor, Moeed Yusuf, who all had blamed Indian government agencies for carrying out the attack on Saeed, ostensibly to avenge the Mumbai attack of November 2008 in which 166 people died.

Yusuf, on 4 July 2021, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad had claimed that, “Through the forensic analysis, electronic equipment, which has been recovered from these terrorists, we have identified the main mastermind and the handlers of this terrorist attack and we have absolutely no doubt or reservation in informing you that the main mastermind belongs to RAW and that mastermind was as Indian citizen.” Yusuf, in fact, merely repeated what the political bosses had stated earlier.

On 28 June, just five days after the attack, the then Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had claimed that the entire cell involved in the attack that included ten Pakistani male and female citizens had been arrested. The mastermind behind the terror incident has also been identified and that all international and local actors have been identified.

However, the charge-sheet in the case was filed almost 15 months after the attack, with only eight named accused and no mention of any “international” actor, thereby leading to questions being raised about the statement made by Buzdar and similar claims made by others, including Imran Khan. What has also led to raising of probing questions is also the series of conflicting news that were being shared by Pakistani agencies with the Pakistani media over this attack.

Pakistan-based sources aware of the matter told The Sunday Guardian that the Pakistani agencies had declared Samiul Haq as the mastermind of the attack. Haq, along with Ujair, was shown to be arrested by the CTD on 28 April this year from Balochistan. Before the arrest of these two individuals, the same CTD had claimed that Peter Paul David, a Christian by religion, was the mastermind behind the attack.

Similarly, the lone woman who has been accused in the attack, Ayesha Biwi, as per local court records filed by her lawyer, was not even in Lahore when the blast took place. More significantly, the only absconding named accused in the case, Naveed Akhtar—as per an investigation by local journalist Umar Cheema, quoting local CTD officials—had informed the law enforcement agencies of the alleged plot to target Saeed on 7 June itself, more than two weeks before the actual blast took place. Yet, more than one year after the said attack, there is no sign of Akhtar, who was formally and completely debriefed by Pakistani law agencies after he allegedly told them about the plan to place a car bomb at Hafiz Saeed’s house.

The recent charge-sheet filed by the Punjab CTD, too, does not mention any of the disclosure, if any, made by Akhtar during his alleged debriefing in June 2021. According to people who follow the developments in Lahore and keep an eye on the activities of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, the bombing outside Hafiz Saeed’s home was likely a result of either intra-Lashkar rivalry or a message meant for Saeed by the Pakistan deep state to tell him that he was not as indispensable as he thinks he is.

Functionaries of different armed groups active in Pakistan told The Sunday Guardian that their targets have always been the security forces and not any leader of a similar armed group which Saeed is. “Any of the interested ‘outside’ Pakistan government agencies, if it wants to take out someone like Saeed, can do it very easily, especially with the kind of technological assets that are available now. The kind of activities we saw in Lahore on 23 June 2021 was likely a message for Saeed from its official mentors. Saeed has many enemies inside Pakistan,” a government official told The Sunday Guardian.

About 15 kg of explosives was planted in a Black Toyota Corolla car bearing registration number LEB-9928 2010 model that had been snatched by three criminals in Gujranwala in November 2010 and had changed ownership multiple times before it was parked near the residence of Hafiz Saeed in Board of Revenue Housing Society, Johar Town. Following the blast, his residence was unscathed (which many believe was by choice), but many other houses and shops falling in 100 square feet radius were damaged, apart from the three dead. The car was parked at 10.30 am and it exploded at 11 am.


NASA Calls Off Launch of Its Moon-Orbiting Mission, Artemis-I, Yet Again


Florida: NASA has called off the scheduled Tuesday launch of its historic planned uncrewed Moon-orbiting mission, Artemis I, due to a tropical storm 'Ian' that is forecast to strengthen as it approaches Florida.

"NASA is foregoing a launch opportunity Tuesday, Sept. 27, and preparing for rollback, while continuing to watch the weather forecast associated with Tropical Storm Ian," the space agency said in its press release.

During a meeting Saturday morning, teams decided to stand down on preparing for the Tuesday launch date to allow them to configure systems for rolling back the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Engineers deferred a final decision about the roll to Sunday to allow for additional data gathering and analysis. If Artemis I managers elect to roll back, it would begin late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

"The agency is taking a step-wise approach to its decision-making process to allow the agency to protect its employees by completing a safe roll in time for them to address the needs of their families while also protecting the option to press ahead with another launch opportunity in the current window if weather predictions improve," the press release added.

NASA continues to rely on the most up-to-date information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Space Force, and the National Hurricane Centre.


On UNGA Sidelines, Jaishankar Meets Counterparts From Russia, Cyprus, Jordan And Venezuela


New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Russia, Cyprus, Jordan and Venezuela on the sidelines of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Jaishankar held wide-ranging discussions. Jaishankar earlier met Lavrov at the BRICS Foreign Ministers' annual meeting on the margins of UNGA, where members exchanged their support for the continued cooperation of BRICS members in areas of mutual interest, including through regular exchanges amongst their Permanent Missions to the UN.

Apart from Lavrov, Jaishankar also held discussions with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on Europe. In a tweet, Jaishankar wrote, "Continued the tradition of the India-Cyprus meeting on the sidelines of UNGA. Thank FM Ioannis Kasoulides for his warm sentiments towards India and his many insights on Europe."

India had earlier thanked Cyprus for its unstinted backing of India's candidature for expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Among the other bilaterals was the meeting of Jaishankar with the Jordanian Foreign Minister. Ayman Safadi. Both the leaders exchanged views on West Asia and the global economy.

"Great to see my good friend FM Ayman Safadi of Jordan. His perspectives on West Asia and the global economy were extremely useful," wrote Jaishankar following the meeting with the Jordanian counterpart.

Jaishankar also exchanged views on the global political and economic scenarios in his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Venezuela Carlos Faria.

The EAM will be in New York from September 18 to 24, while he will visit Washington DC from September 25 to 28, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

After concluding his visit to New York on Saturday, he is scheduled to visit Washington for three days starting Sunday for what the External Affairs Ministry said for "a high-level review of the multifaceted bilateral agenda and strengthen cooperation on regional and global issues to further consolidate the India-US strategic partnership".

In Washington, Jaishsnkar is expected to meet Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior officials of the Biden Administration. A round table focused on science and technology is also on the agenda for Washington.


Hamid Karzai Lambasts Shehbaz Sharif's Remarks About Presence of Terrorist Groups In Afghanistan


Kabul: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday lambasted Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for his remark at the United Nations General Assembly session that a threat of terrorism emanates from Afghanistan.

"The statement at #UNGA of Hon. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of #Pakistan regarding the presence of terrorist groups in #Afghanistan is unfortunate and untrue. Facts are in opposite direction: #Pakistan govt has been for decades nurturing and using terrorism against the people, culture and heritage of #Afghanistan. Continuing to use propaganda and extremism to undermine the wellbeing of the people of #Afghanistan is not in the interest of #Pakistan, conducting a civilised relationship is," tweeted Karzai.

Earlier, Pakistan's PM said that "Pakistan shares the key concern of the international community regarding the threat posed by the major terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan especially Islamic State- Khorasan (ISIS-K) and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as well as Al-Qaeda, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)," reported Tolo News.

Karzai said that the remarks were not true. He said in a statement that Afghanistan has been the victim of terrorism and that terrorist sanctuaries have been active under the Pakistani government in the country--and have been used against Afghanistan for decades.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that the allegations were baseless.

"Some countries, including the United States and Pakistan, expressed concerns ... that threat of terrorism still exists in Afghanistan," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"These concerns, based on incorrect information and sources, are being brought up as the relevant parties are yet to hand over the seat of Afghanistan at the United Nations to its rightful, legal and political owners, the Afghan government," added the statement.

Speaking at a gathering in Kabul, the acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi said that "biased circles in the world call Afghanistan a terrorist haven."

Sharif also urged the Taliban to respect human rights and women's rights, reported Tolo News.

Since its ascent to power in Kabul, the Islamic group imposed policies severely restricting basic rights--particularly those of women and girls.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Taliban dismissed all women from leadership posts in the civil service and prohibited girls in most provinces from attending secondary school.

Taliban decrees prohibit women from travelling unless accompanied by a male relative and require women's faces to be covered in public--including women TV newscasters.

The Taliban have also carried out censorship, limited critical reporting, and beaten journalists. Taliban forces have carried out revenge killings and enforced disappearances of former government officials and security force personnel. They have summarily executed people deemed affiliated with the Islamic State.

Armed groups linked to the Afghan branch of the Islamic State have carried out bombings targeting ethnic Hazaras, Afghan Shias, Sufis, and others, killing and injuring hundreds.


Pakistan Raises Concern Over Terrorism Threat Emanating From Afghanistan At UNGA


New York: During his remarks at the 77th United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Pakistan's Prime Minister raised concern over the threat of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that "Pakistan shares the key concern of the international community regarding the threat posed by the major terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan especially Islamic State- Khorasan (ISIS-K) and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as well as Al-Qaeda, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)," reported Tolo News.

Sharif's remarks sparked reactions from the Islamic Emirate and former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai. Karzai said in a statement that Afghanistan has been the victim of terrorism and that terrorist sanctuaries have been active under the Pakistani government in the country--and have been used against Afghanistan for decades, reported Tolo News.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that the allegations were baseless.

"Some countries, including the United States and Pakistan, expressed concerns ... that threat of terrorism still exists in Afghanistan," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"These concerns, based on incorrect information and sources, are being brought up as the relevant parties are yet to hand over the seat of Afghanistan at the United Nations to its rightful, legal and political owners, the Afghan government," added the statement.

Speaking at a gathering in Kabul, the acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi said that "biased circles in the world call Afghanistan a terrorist haven."

Sharif also urged the Taliban to respect human rights and women's rights, reported Tolo News.

Since its ascent to power in Kabul, the Islamic group imposed policies severely restricting basic rights--particularly those of women and girls.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Taliban dismissed all women from leadership posts in the civil service and prohibited girls in most provinces from attending secondary school.

Taliban decrees prohibit women from travelling unless accompanied by a male relative and require women's faces to be covered in public--including women TV newscasters.

The Taliban have also censored, limited critical reporting, and beaten journalists. Taliban forces have carried out revenge killings and enforced disappearances of former government officials and security force personnel. They have summarily executed people deemed affiliated with the Islamic State.

Armed groups linked to the Afghan branch of the Islamic State have carried out bombings targeting ethnic Hazaras, Afghan Shias, Sufis, and others, killing and injuring hundreds.