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The Islamic State foreign fighter phenomenon and the jihadi threat to India

Sharma, Anurag orcid logoORCID: 0000-0001-6136-5298 (2019) The Islamic State foreign fighter phenomenon and the jihadi threat to India. Master of Arts thesis, Dublin City University.

Research to-date on so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) or ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s' (ISIS) foreign fighters has mainly covered the movement of these from Western countries to Iraq and Syria. A significant, but under-researched, number of foreign fighters from South-Asian countries have also travelled to IS-controlled regions. It is estimated that around 1,000 foreign fighters from five countries in South-Asia, including China, had departed by 2015. Somewhat surprisingly, India, with the second-largest Muslim population in the world (c.172 million) after Indonesia, has an official count of just 23 foreign fighters travelling to IS-controlled regions in Iraq and Syria, to 2017. The Indian foreign fighter contingent appears tiny in comparison with the European foreign fighter numbers or those of foreign fighters from other nations in the Indian Subcontinent (e.g. Pakistan, Maldives). This thesis thus sought to determine if the Indian foreign fighter count is greater than the official count, how Indian foreign fighters compared with other foreign fighters in terms of individual characteristics, and the threat posed by these to India going forward. It is the first substantive analysis of the Indian foreign fighters in IS. It was found that the number of Indian foreign fighters, including departures for Afghanistan, is 38. Data about these 38 individuals, gleaned from media accounts, court and other official documents, were then subject to analysis. The collected data was categorised according to determinants such as age, gender, home location, education, employment, etc. Comparison between Indian and European foreign fighters was also conducted to find the similarities and differences between them based on these factors. The biggest difference was in relation to foreign fighters’ prior criminal convictions. Many European fighters had criminal backgrounds, whereas only two of the Indian foreign fighters fit this description. Fourteen of the Indians are reportedly dead and just two are returnees, so unlikely to bring about the ‘Islamic State-Khorasan’ in the Indian Subcontinent by 2020 as called for by IS. This thesis nonetheless also explores the threat posed by returned or returning fighters to India.
Item Type:Thesis (Master of Arts)
Date of Award:March 2019
Supervisor(s):Conway, Maura
Uncontrolled Keywords:Foreign Fighters; India; Islamic State
Subjects:Social Sciences > Terrorism
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:22558
Deposited On:03 Apr 2019 13:32 by Maura Conway . Last Modified 10 Sep 2020 10:07

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