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Mohd Shafi Amar, Chief of Indian ISIS Cell Killed US Airstrike in Syria

Islamic State cell and principal recruiter for IS in India killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria.

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Mohammad Shafi Armar(alias Yousuf al-Hindi) Image source: Benarnews
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Indian intelligence officials said Monday they were working to verify reports that the alleged head of an Islamic State cell and principal recruiter for IS in India had been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria.

Mohammad Shafi Armar (alias Yousuf al-Hindi), who comes from the south Indian state of Karnataka, was killed in a drone strike “a few days ago,” according to a report published by the Times of India on Monday that cited top government sources.

An official at India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) told BenarNews that although it had received an intelligence report of Armar’s death from American intelligence officials on Sunday, the bureau was cross-checking to verify the information.

“Prima facie, it seems he [Armar] is dead. But we can’t say anything for sure until we verify [the information],” said the official who requested anonymity.

“The confirmation process may take some time because getting information from Syria, which is an IS stronghold, is not easy,” the official added.

Common link

Armar, 26 (pictured below), is believed to be the common link among at least 25 people arrested by Indian security agencies over the past year for showing leanings toward the Middle East-based terror outfit, according to intelligence sources.

The Times of India claimed to have confirmed the information about his death from three top government and intelligence sources.

The alleged IS sympathizers told investigators during interrogation that they were radicalized and recruited by Armar through online platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype, sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told BenarNews.

Armar allegedly took over the reins of IS’s India offshoot – Ansar ul-Tawhid (AuT) – after his brother, Abdul Khadir Sultan Armar, 38, was killed in an airstrike in Kobane, Syria, in March 2015.

Armar recently dismantled AuT and renamed it as Junud al Khalifa-e-Hind, which translates to “soldiers of the Indian caliphate,” with an aim to establish an IS unit in every Indian state, according to intelligence agencies.

Following the death of Armar’s brother last year, their mother, Hajira, told The Indian Express that her sons had stopped communicating with her in 2010, five years after the brothers left for Oman.

A police official in Bhatkal, the Armar family’s hometown about 525 km (326 miles) from the Karnataka capital Bengaluru, told BenarNews that Armar’s mother and father, Shabbir Hussain, had relocated to Dubai within the past year. BenarNews was unable to locate Armar’s parents for comment.

A total of 23 Indians have left India to fight for the IS in Iraq and Syria, according to an intelligence report released last year. Of them, six had died in battle before reports of Armar’s death emerged.

While at least 25 suspected IS recruits have been arrested by Indian security forces, more than 150 are under surveillance for showing sympathy toward the militant organization, according to officials. (Benar News)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.