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MANTRAYA BRIEF#23: 25 OCTOBER 2017

Siege of Marawi: Spectre of ‘new’ terrorism in Southeast Asia 

Bibhu Prasad Routray

Abstract

The near five month siege of Marawi in Philippines by the militants inspired by the Islamic State ended on 23 October 2017. Notwithstanding the official claims of the military having nipped the bud of extremism, the episode could mark the beginning a new wave of terrorism in Southeast Asia.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#22: 31 AUGUST 2017

Countering Violent Extremism in Myanmar 

Bibhu Prasad Routray

Abstract

Two attacks on the security forces within a  span of 10 months  by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has led to a massive operation by the Myanmar armed forces in the Rakhine State. Over 100 ARSA cadres and civilians have been killed and thousands of Rohingyas have been displaced. While such high-handed counter-extremism approach may weaken the ARSA for the time being, the socio-political context within which such extremism has risen, will keep it alive.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#21: 15 AUGUST 2017

The ‘al Qaeda’ stream of Kashmir Militancy 

Bibhu Prasad Routray 

Abstract

A segment within the Kashmir militancy has turned global. Declaring itself a branch of the al Qaeda, this small team of militants are not just posing new challenges to the Indian security establishment, but also to the Pakistan sponsored movement which aims at merger with Pakistan as Kashmir’s end objective.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#20: 01 JUNE 2017

Regional power play in Afghanistan and India’s policy options 

Shanthie Mariet D’Souza 

Abstract

A regional power realignment is taking place in Afghanistan. As countries jockey for influence in shaping the end-game in Afghanistan, India seems to be a lone bystander being sidelined even by its traditional allies- Russia and Iran. A new great power rivalry between the U.S. and Russia is evident not just in Syria and other places, but also in Afghanistan. As there are attempts at regional block formation, should India join these blocks or should  it maintain its independent policy? Can an India-U.S. alliance help stabilise Afghanistan or lead to further intensification of regional power competition? The rapidly changing geopolitical realities and increased spectre of violence is something that New Delhi cannot ignore.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#19: 13 APRIL 2017

Syria- the US flips a page

Maj. Gen. Neeraj Bali (Retd.)

Abstract

The strong response by the United States (US) to Syria’s use of chemical weapons has added uncertainty to an already volatile situation in that region. This also marked a stark departure from a policy of avoiding military intervention in Syria. Why did the US change course? Would it be a ‘game-changer’ for the Syrian situation and cast a long shadow on US-Russia relationship, hitherto described as ‘cosy’ since Mr Donald Trump became the US President?

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#18: 04 AUGUST 2016

An icon retires: Whither anti-AFSPA agitation? 

Bibhu Prasad Routray

Abstract

Irom Sharmila’s decision to end her 16 year old fast demanding scrapping of the controversial AFSPA does raise several uncomfortable questions regarding the organisation of civil rights movements in conflict ridden states. 

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#17: 04 JULY 2016

Whats in a name? Unscrambling the Dhaka terror strike 

Bibhu Prasad Routray

Abstract

Whether global or local jihad consumed the lives of the Bangladeshis and foreigners on 1 July 2016 is irrelevant. An effective counter-terrorism response is about the state’s demonstrated inclination to provide a honest assessment of the challenge and capacity to initiate steps to mitigate the threat. Bangladesh’s “Insurance Agent’s approach to terrorism” underlines that it is not even willing to address the threat. 

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#16: 13 JUNE 2016

Pakistan: Sharif Contestations 

Anand Arni

Abstract

In Pakistan, the Sharifs- Prime Minister Nawaz and Army Chief Raheel have tried to outmanoeuvre each other. While many would expect the civilian government to be subdued almost instantly in a country where the military dictates terms, Nawaz’s own tactics have helped him to endure. And with barely six months to go before Raheel retires, there is no clear winner.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#15: 1 JUNE 2016

Pakistan Army: Martial Race or National Army

V. Vidya Lakshmi

Abstract

The kind of influence Pakistan’s army enjoys in the country has few parallels. However, notwithstanding its primacy, it remains an ‘ethnically imbalanced’ army and not a ‘national army’. With a deeply entrenched concept of ‘martial race’, modernity is an unattainable goal for the Pakistan army.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#14: 26 MAY 2016

Profile: Abdul Rehman Rauf of Jaish-e-Mohammad

Partha Chakraborty

Abstract

Abdul Rehman Rauf is the second in command in the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)’s power hierarchy and is arguably the most important person in charge of taking key decisions in the outfit. He has played key role in several terrorist attacks carried out on Indian soil and remains a key instrument of the Pakistan military’s anti-India subversive activities.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#13: 05 MARCH 2016

CPI-Maoist’s continuing potency

Bibhu Prasad Routray 

Abstract

Killing of 16 civilians in the worst massacre since 2013 and another three security force personnel in Chhattisgarh by the CPI-Maoist brings back attention on the potency of a declining extremism. The state’s continued achievements in neutralising its cadres does not appear to have dented its capacities to carry out selective and well-planned strikes.  

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#12: 04 January 2016

Bangladesh’s Ansarullah Bangla Team

Surya Valliappan Krishna

Abstract

Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) has emerged as a radical Islamist group with a limited operational objective of targeting secular bloggers in Bangladesh. However, behind its attacks on and killings of these bloggers, is its larger intent of establishing Islamic rule in the country and being part of the global jihad. 

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#11: 1 DECEMBER 2015

Afghanistan: Reversing losses?

V. Vidya Lakshmi

Abstract

Recurrent insurgent attacks and rising civilian fatalities in Afghanistan raise questions on the capacities of ANSF. The US decision to revise the withdrawal plan in the wake of the Kunduz attack has indicated the gaps in the strategic and tactical capacities of ANA in dealing with the insurgency. The domestic factors also remain a key area of concern. In this weakening security and political environment it is conducive for the Taliban to regain its lost ground.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#10: 24 SEPTEMBER 2015

Profile: Mirza Shadaab Beg of Indian Mujahideen

Bibhu Prasad Routray & Manoj Kumar Panigrahi

Abstract

Mirza Shadaab Beg alias Engineer was born in Raja ka Quila under Kotwali Police circle in Uttar Pradesh state’s Azamgarh district. Son of Mirza Ahatesham Beg, Shadaab pursued engineering prior to his joining the Indian Mujahideen. Believed to be based in Pakistan, Shadaab has been involved in a number of terror attacks carried out by the IM. Linked in the past to the TTP and the Al Qaeda, Shadaab is also a recruiter for the Islamic State.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#09: 15 AUGUST 2015

Maldives: Footprints of the Islamic State

Surya Valliappan Krishna

Abstract

Muslim majority Maldives is becoming a prime recruiting ground for the Islamic State. Over 200 Maldivians have joined the Islamic State. Political instability at home has allowed the Islamists to push their anti-democracy and pro-Islamist agenda. And the official response remains weak and insufficient. The growth of Islamic State’s influence in Maldives has serious repercussions for South Asia in general and India in particular. 

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#08: 07 AUGUST 2015

Profile: Mohsin Chaudhary of Indian Mujahideen

Bibhu Prasad Routray & Manoj Kumar Panigrahi

Abstract

Born on 6 November 1980, Mohsin Ismail Chaudhary alias Sayyed is one of the three sons of Ismail Ibrahim Choudhary residing in Manisha Complex in Mitha Nagar area of Kondhwa Khurd in Pune city. Although not much is known about his growing up years, Mohsin is believed to have been recruited into the Indian Mujahideen (IM) by the Bhatkal brothers – Riyaz and Iqbal, the founding members of the outfit. Mohsin is believed to be involved in several explosions carried out by the IM in India including the August 2007 twin explosions in Hyderabad and the July 2008 explosions in Ahmedabad.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#07: 30 JUNE 2015

Profile: Amir Reza Khan of Indian Mujahideen

Bibhu Prasad Routray & Manoj Kumar Panigrahi

Abstract

Born on 5 January 1978, Amir Reza Khan, alias Parvez (also known as Rizwan and Muttaki) was one of the four sons of Ishaque Ali Khan and Hasina residing in Beniapukur’s Mafidal Islam lane in Kolkata, in the state of West Bengal. Ishaque Ali Khan managed a small construction business and a large joint family. According to the National Investigative Agency (NIA) Amir’s permanent address is in Gaya district’s Mheyan, in the state of Bihar, which is the hometown of Ishaque Ali Khan. Amir’s life was significantly influenced by that of his elder brother Asif Reza Khan.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#06: 19 MAY 2015

IEDs: Preferred weapons without a counter

M A Athul

Abstract

IEDs have become the weapons of choice for militant groups and non state actors in asymmetric warfare of the 21st century. While these affordable, yet potent weapons have sustained the militant groups’ ability to stay in the fight, the state actors are yet to find an appropriate counter to these weapons.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#05: 07 MAY 2015

Reclaiming India’s Air Space

Bibhu Prasad Routray

Abstract

New Delhi needs to worry with Chinese satellites taking over the air space in South Asia using a predatory pricing mechanism. The official policy striving towards a Digital India must take note of the past performance of ISRO and the DoS and reassess the future of India’s Open Sky policy, which might have allowed itself to be exploited by foreign powers.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#04: 16 APRIL 2015

Bangladesh’s Shaheed Hamja Brigade

Bibhu Prasad Routray

Abstract

Shaheed Hamja Brigade (SHB) is the newest addition to Bangladesh‘s terror formations. The authorities believe that following the arrest of 25 of its cadres, the outfit has been neutralised. Yet, a number of questions regarding SHB’s nexus with persons and networks need to remain to be answered.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#03: 09 APRIL 2015

Chinese Foreign Policy Signals for 2015

 Bo Zhen

Abstract

The annual Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference ( CPPCC) held in March 2015 provides a glimpse to what the Chinese foreign policy might look in 2015. While there is a prospect for mutual cooperation with Russia and a competitive cooperation with the United States, there is prospects for acrimony with Japan and a process of engagement with India.  

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 MANTRAYA BRIEF#02: 03 APRIL 2015

India’s Maritime Cooperative Security Architecture

Rahul K Bhonsle

Abstract

In the Indian Ocean region, India enjoys the advantage of a cultural connect and an ideal geographical location to build a cooperative network with states apprehensive of both traditional and non-traditional threats. A India-led Maritime Cooperative Security Architecture (MCSA) will be as much a security as a confidence building mechanism.

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MANTRAYA BRIEF#01: 20 MARCH 2015

Online Radicalisation and the Specter of Extremist Violence in India

Shanthie Mariet D’Souza

Abstract

The Islamic State (IS) has demonstrated its capacity to efficiently use the internet for a variety of purposes  including radicalisation. Instances of youths being bombarded online with radical ideologies is gaining ground not only in the West but also in India. While officials in India put a figure of 80-100 of its citizens affiliated with IS, the number of those getting influenced and indoctrinated through online content remains a blind spot and could be much higher. As the incidences of online radicalistaion is on the rise, it requires a sustained, systematic and innovative approach to meet the challenge. In developing collaborative and comprehensive counter radicalisation measures on a regional and global level, the government needs to look beyond its own  known levels of competence to involve professionals and experts in the non-governmental sectors.

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