The decentralized IM network has a loose leadership currently based in Pakistan, but moving between there and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, said the report authored by noted South Asia security expert Stephen Tankel.
“External support was a force multiplier for Indian militancy rather than a key driver of it. Although the IM receives support from LeT, it should not be viewed as an affiliate within the same command-and-control hierarchy. This distinguishes the IM from some of the otherLeT cells or operatives active in India,” it said. The report is based on research conducted over twenty months from January 2012 to September 2013 and draws on primary and secondary source material as well as on field interviews conducted in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It argues that the Indian Mujahideen — the primary indigenous jihadist threat — is part of a larger universe of Islamist militant entities operating in India, many but not all of which are connected to external entities such as the Pakistani militant group LeT and the Bangladeshi Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI-B). It also asserts that the IM should not be viewed as a formal organization, but instead is best understood as a label for a relatively amorphous network populated by jihadist elements from the fringes of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the criminal underworld. The improper use of the IM label for all indigenous jihadist violence contributes to confusion about its composition and cohesion. The IM connects to and sometimes attempts to absorb smaller cells and self-organising clusters of would-be militants.