India’s impending clash with ISIS
by R K Ohri on 31 Dec 2015 5 Comments

In a recent analysis on the website Africa Metro, Philip Rivers and Kent Underwood pointed out that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is determined to wage jihad against India, China and Rome. [1] It is time the international community realises that the establishment of Islamic State has been the most significant development in international jihadism since 9/11. 


ISIS vows to conquer Rome, India & China


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has released a list of countries against which he intends to wage war to ensure Islamic domination of the world. These include The Vatican (Rome), India, China, Israel, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Caucasus, Sham (the Levant), Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, et al. According to al-Baghdadi, the rights of Muslims are being violated in all these nations. Many Indians are clueless about the threat posed by the ISIS and its global mission. Many believe that ISIS are just stupid and don’t represent true Islam.[2] 


Al-Baghdadi claims that the new Islamic State replicates the 7th century Rashidun Caliphate of Prophet Muhammad’s successors. The ISIS says it is necessary for Muslims to subjugate non-Muslims in the east and west. Apart from India and China, the self-proclaimed Caliph has vowed to conquer Rome and called on Muslims to immigrate to the Islamic State to fight under its banner around the globe.


The Islamic State has released an e-book in which the group's journey from al Qaeda to ISIS has been detailed and future goals enunciated, including a warning that it will expand to India. 


A new book, titled “Black Flags from the Islamic State” (2016) was launched online by the ISIS on December 1, 2015. It reads like a chronicle of global Islamic militancy from the time of Osama bin Laden to the recent attacks in Paris.[3] The e-book warns that the caliphate will soon expand beyond Iraq and Syria to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, The Philippines and several countries of the Middle East and the African  continent.


Claiming that a clash of civilisations is in progress in non-Muslim countries between Muslims and the majority populations, the book specifically targets India. Alleging that in India a campaign had been launched by Hindus to kill Muslims who eat beef, it labels Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a right wing Hindu nationalist and accuses him of preparing for a war against Muslims. After gloating about the successful killing of 129 persons in Paris on December 13th, 2015 (‘An Analysis of the Paris Attacks’),  the e-book invites all Muslims to join ISIS. 


Naji and the management of savagery


Abu Bakr Naji is a well-known ideologue of Islamic State. His celebrated tome, Management of Savagery, is the bible of the global jihad launched by ISIS. According to Naji, the ideal of education by example (tarbiya bil-qudwa) is one of the two most effective methods of training mujahideen. He devotes a great deal of space to elaborating on this method by stating that seeing someone else sacrifice his most valuable things in the path of God will have a strong inspirational effect on the individual. The dazzling examples of the Prophet and his Companions were the true exemplars for the faithful. When there are men in the ranks of Mujahids who sacrifice expensive and valuable things in response to Allah’s commands they become the best means of educating the believers in Islamic activism and motivating the young. Prima facie “martyrdom” or suicide operations fall in this category.


The second important aspect of jihadi training is education by staging momentous events or spectacular attacks (tarbiya bil-ahdath). Naji has emphasized the importance of staging spectacular attacks on the enemy. Together with recourse to savagery to subdue the infidels, it is equally important to stage momentous events to motivate Islamic warriors. He considers staging momentous events the most effective means for attracting the youth to the Prophet’s cause. He proclaims that “terrible events” (spectacular strikes) which capture the imagination of the people will have a greater learning effect than a hundred years of peaceful education. Such “momentous events” tend to produce Islamic heroes and provide opportunities to demonstrate the resolve of jihadi warriors to win in the face of the horrors of war.  


Tough training regimen for jihadis


The theory and practice of ISIS places overwhelming emphasis on physical fitness and training of Mujahideen for shaping them into hardy fighters. The e-book prescribes very high standards of physical fitness for the youth opting to join ISIS for Jihad. The rigorous standards of physical fitness are described below.


1)      Jog for 10 kilometers (about 6.2 miles) without stopping, in no more than 70 minutes in the worst of cases.

2)    Run 3 kilometers (roughly 2 miles) daily in about 13.5 minutes.

3)     Run 100 meters with only 12-15 seconds of rest in between.

4)    Walk a long distance without stopping once for at least 10 hours.

5)     Carry a load of 20 kilograms (around 44 pounds) for at least 4 hours straight.

6)    Perform at least 70 push-ups in one shot without stopping (one can start by performing 10 push-ups at one go, then increasing the number by 3 every day until eventually reaching 70).

7)     Perform 100 sit-ups in one shot without stopping (one can start by performing 10 sit-ups at once, then increasing the number by 3 every day until eventually reaching 100).

8)    Crawl using arms for a distance of 50 meters in 70 seconds at most.

9)    Perform the ‘Farata’ or speedy run (an exercise that combines speed walking, jogging and running) the drill for which is as follows:


a)     The Mujahid begins by walking normally for 2 minutes, then walks quickly for 2 minutes, then jogs for 2 minutes, then runs for 2 minutes, then runs fast for a distance of 100 meters, then returns to walking, and so on and so forth until he performs this exercise 10 times non-stop. And normal walking differs from quick walking, which differs from jogging, which differs from running. Normal walking is known to all, while quick walking is that one walks at a greater speed while making sure not to raise his feet from the ground for a greater amount of time than he would while walking normally.

b)    As for jogging, it is required that one covers a distance of one kilometer (roughly 0.6 miles) in less than 5.5 minutes. As for running, it is necessary that one covers a distance of one kilometer in less than 4.5 minutes,  etc. (pp.9-10, The Black Flags of ISIS) 


Bomb-Making Technique For Suicide Attacks


To give impetus to the cult of car bombings against non-Muslims, the ISIS e-book (p 74) gives lucid instructions how Mujahideen cells should work together to manufacture and hurl car bombs at kaffirs. They must follow an elaborate drill:


-        Cell No. 1 makes or gets its own bomb making materials (explosives) from the black market and delivers it at a hidden drop off point with a secret mark to show that the material has been placed, and sends a secret letter/message to members of Cell 2 that it has reached.


-        Cell No. 2 will find out if the equipment is ready and secretly pick it up and take it to their Garage. Here they will put the explosive powder (usually fertilizer mixed with diesel; Technical name: Ammonium Nitrate + Fuel Oil = ANFO) in steel boxes with wires/ detonating cables. When the Fertilizer and diesel are put on fire (by the naked wires), they suddenly explode. In a normal car bomb, there is usually 1 tonne of ANFO. The ANFO explosive powder metal boxes might be inserted in the boot and bonnet of the car or where there is a gap.


-        Cell No. 3 will be informed through a secret letter or human messenger (courier) that the equipment (car bomb) is ready and if they need it, they can pick it up from a location already decided between them. For this purpose Cell 3 might have members who are willing to undertake martyrdom operations (‘suicide bombings’.) So the leader of Cell 3 will inform one of his men to pick up the car from a secret place and to bring it for the martyrdom operator.


-        The martyrdom operator will then drive the car to a place where a number of enemies are gathered and press the Button (Arabic name, Doqma.)  A full electric circuit will be made by the button-press and electricity will pass through the detonating wires to ignite the main explosive powder (ANFO) in the metal boxes. One tonne of ANFO will explode, ripping through the entire car, killing the martyrdom operator and all enemies surrounding the car.


-        Each Cell will contain about 5 members each, communicating in secret through secret messengers. These messengers will speak to the leader of the other Cell and no one else. These secret communications make it harder for Intelligence agencies to know the secret of Cell groups because only one designated messenger communicates between 2 Cell leaders, and no one else knows the secrets of other Cells.


According to the e-book, the above mentioned techniques should be used by Mujahideen to transport weapons, organise fighters and for sending money and supplies to each other while waging jihad. By imparting rigorous training to Mujahideen and recourse to limitless savagery, ISIS wants to accomplish its campaign to annihilate all non-Muslims from the world.


Challenges facing security forces


India’s security preparedness requires a multi-pronged strategy to cope with ISIS. First and foremost, the Central and State governments must undertake a data-based appreciation of the  threat posed by ISIS, Lashkar and allied groups, duly aided by Pakistan and multiple spy-nests embedded in India and the threats likely to emanate from our immediate neighbourhood  and West Asia. The action plan should take into account the possibility of sudden simultaneous jihadi attacks in many sensitive locations. 


There is an urgent need for the Indian police, including State police and para-military forces, to undertake a total overhaul of their physical fitness, strategic training and combat efficiency. They should be able to match and outdo the proficiency of Islamic warriors being trained by ISIS. Among other things, tactical training should include the capacity to face the savagery and brutality of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Tayeba, Indian Mujahideen, et al. It is a huge task, knowing as we do the present limited combat efficiency of our police ranks and security forces.


Elaborate short-term and long-term Action Plans should be drawn up to counter the overall Islamist campaigns targeting India. A comprehensive evaluation of the manpower available with the State Police forces and Central Para-military forces should be undertaken for winning the future war against multiple groups of Islamic militants.


To defeat Abu Bakr Naji’s vile strategy of creating pockets of chaos and savagery, all ‘No-Go’ areas in every State and major city should be identified and analysed. Efforts should be made to effectively erase locations where pockets of chaos and savagery could be established. Simultaneously steps should be taken to enforce strict police patrolling of all ‘No-Go’ zones. 


Since Naji’s war manual, Management of Savagery, stresses on staging ‘spectacular’ attacks, it is essential to evolve a proper methodology and response for anticipating and defeating all sudden spectacular attacks by jihadi groups. All State police forces must prepare and keep handy district-wise lists of all important installations, religious institutions and sensitive towns and locations.


It is high time we review, revise and upgrade the architecture and modalities of intelligence collection and regular ‘threat analysis’ by the Intelligence Bureau, Research & Analysis Wing, para-military forces and intelligence wings of State police forces. 


We need to monitor the day-to-day postings on Jihadi websites and if possible, neutralise certain provocative posts on the Internet. There must be effective scrutiny of the movements of persons with suspicious antecedents, by air or by train. This must be followed by a system of post-operational debriefing of arrested Jihadis and their accomplices. 


As India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been specifically added to the target list of ISIS, India will have to join the war against Islamic State sooner than later. Looking to the massive use of barbarism by ISIS, Indian security forces will have to prepare for a merciless war.



1.      Phillip Rivers & Kent Underwood, ‘Caliphate Declares War With China, India, Rome’, Africa Metro, December 18, 2015,

2.     Ibid.  

3.     Mugdha  Variyar, ‘Black Flags From the Islamic State  (2016)’, 

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