Indian firms have emerged as a leading, but unintentional, source of components used by the Islamic State terror group to fabricate improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to a new report.
The report names seven companies from India as the source of detonating cords and detonators, only the second largest supplier by country of origin after Turkey, with 11.
But the report was unequivocally clear that these supplies were not intended for IS, and were not delivered directly to the terrorist group or to its known fronts or allies.
Conflict Armament Research (CAR), which studies weapons-specific issues in conflict areas, published the report after a 20-month investigation funded by the European Union.
CAR studied more than 700 IED components seized from IS forces by the Iraqis, Kurds and Syrians during major battles in their respective areas, such as Mosul and Kobane.
The report identified by name 51 companies from 20 countries that included, other than Turkey and India, the US, Switzerland, China, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Iraq and Lebanon.
About Indian comapnies, the report said: “Seven Indian companies manufactured most of the detonators, detonating cord, and safety fuses documented by CAR’s field investigation teams. Under Indian law, transfer of this material requires a licence.
“All components documented by CAR were legally exported under government-issued licences from India to entities in Lebanon and Turkey.”
The companies, identified by the report, are not being named here because they did not do business with the IS directly, intentionally or knowingly.
CAR identified eight Turkish companies that “have re-transferred components produced in Brazil, China, India, the Netherlands, Romania, and the Russian Federation”.
But, the report said, they are not known to export goods to either Syria or Iraq, large parts of which are under the military and administrative control of the IS.
CAR said evidence gathered by it suggested “IS forces, or intermediaries acting on their behalf, acquired the components in Turkey and subsequently transferred them to Iraq and Syria”.
Detonating cords from Indian companies were seized from IS forces, or found left behind by them, in the battles of Kobane in Syria and on the Makhmour front line in Iraq.
Detonators from India, plain and electrical, were found at Kobane in Syria and Kirkuk and Erbil in Iraq. According to the product label, some were made in 2012.
CAR also found mobile phones used by the IS in remote-controlled IEDs were made by a well known global brand, including by its manufacturing unit in India.