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Products from at least seven Indian companies figure in a large supply of components that have ended up in explosives used by Islamic State terrorists, according to a study released on Thursday.
The European Union-funded 20-month-long study by the Conflict Armament Research (CAR) states that the seven Indian companies “manufactured most of the detonators, detonating cord, and safety fuses documented” by their field investigation teams. However, there was no illegality on the part of the Indian companies, the report says.
“Under Indian law, transfer of this material requires a licence. All components documented by CAR were legally exported,” the report says.
The study established that 51 companies from 20 countries produced, sold or received more than 700 components used by IS to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Companies from other countries such as Turkey, Brazil and the United States also appeared on the list.
The report said the IS is now producing IEDs “quasi-industrial scale”, using both regulated components and easily available items such as fertilisers and mobile phones.
The role of Turkey
With 13 companies, Turkey is the most important source of components used in the manufacture of IEDs by the IS. The components include chemical precursors, containers, detonating cord, cables, and wires.
Some of these Turkish companies have also sourced materials from companies in India and elsewhere, before the procured items that landed up in IS hands.
The report said that during the siege of Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town, last year, Kurdish YPG militias captured detonating cord from IS.
“Solar Industries, India, produced one spool of detonating cord on 27 February 2014 and exported it to the Turkish company Ýlci, Ankara. Two months earlier, on 31 December 2012, Gulf Oil Corporation, India, had produced a spool and exported it to the Turkish company Nitromak Dyno Nobel, Ankara.
However, all those Indian products landed up with the IS, through some intermediaries.
CAR also documented that Solar Industries produced detonating cord that IS forces used to make IEDs. “There is no evidence to indicate to which regional entity Solar Industries supplied the cord,” the report said.
In February 2015, a CAR investigation team in Kobane documented a spool of detonating cord produced by Premier Explosives Ltd, India.
“Premier Explosives has confirmed that it sold 6 million metres of detonating cord to the Mechanical Construction Factory, Syria, in 2009 and 2010,” the report said.
On sanctions list
In December 2011, the European Union placed the Mechanical Construction Factory on a sanctions list for acting as a front company for the acquisition of sensitive equipment by the Syrian government’s Scientific Studies and Research Center.
CAR investigators also found Premier Explosives’s detonating cord among items that Kurdistan Regional Government security forces seized from an IS cell in early December 2014 in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. “Premier Explosives has told CAR that it never supplied explosive components to Iraq,” the report said.
In Kobane, a spool of detonating cord produced by Rajasthan Explosives and Chemicals, India, was found. The company was yet to respond to the questionnaire from the CAR team.
Chain of custody
In the investigations into explosives used by IS in Kobane, they also saw “spool of safety fuse produced by the Indian company Chamundi Explosives. In the absence of serial, batch, and lot numbers, and of a manufacturing date, CAR is unable to document the item’s full chain of custody.
In Kobane, Kurdish forces captured plain detonators from IS forces that were manufactured by Indian company Economic Explosives.