I'm actually not on the Olympic list - not that I'm aware of. If so, then I shouldn't be on it… There's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision. I don't feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry.
That’s four-time Olympic gold medallist Serena Williams announcing her decision not to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. She is just the latest in a string of high-powered tennis players to skip major tournaments. Rafael Nadal earlier said he will not compete at either Wimbledon or the summer games—to protect his body. Naomi Osaka pulled out of both the French Open and Wimbledon for mental health reasons.
Editor’s note: ICYMI, here’s the recording of the excellent conversation with the always delightful Shashi Tharoor. The discussion ranged widely from Congress politics to foreign policy, reading and atmanirbhar Bharat. A good time was had by all! Check it out here.
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A worrying drone attack in Jammu
The TLDR: The Indian Air Force base was hit by two low-intensity blasts triggered by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) carried by drones—likely over the border from Pakistan. There was some damage to the building, and two IAF personnel suffered mild injuries. What makes this incident notable is that it is the first attack of its kind—and indicates an alarming new trend in warfare. Here’s what we know so far.
Tell me about the attack…
The location: The heavily guarded Indian Air Force Station at Jammu airport—which is a dual-use facility. It is controlled by the air force, but also operates civilian passenger flights. It is located 15 km from the Pakistan border.
The attack: According to unnamed security sources, each drone was carrying more than 2 kg of explosives—which were dropped from a height of at least 100 metres: “The IEDs were fitted with [an] impact charge where the detonation either happens immediately on impact or a few moments later.” The exact type of explosive is still unknown.
There were two blasts around 1:47 am on Sunday. One ripped off the roof of a building, while the other blast occurred on open ground. According to one source, no remains of the drones were found at the site:
“The sentry at the base heard two separate whirring sounds followed by two blasts at an interval of six minutes. No remains of drones were found at the site, so it is suspected that they dropped their payload and went back.”
But The Telegraph reports that the police have uncovered their remnants—which could indicate that the drones themselves were turned into explosive devices.
The damage: They did not cause much damage, and two Air Force personnel were mildly injured. An unnamed officer told Indian Express: “Unless the attackers just wanted to show that India’s key security infrastructure can be easily targeted, the drones seem to have actually missed their target, as they haven’t caused any significant damage, certainly not to our aviation infrastructure.”
The target: It isn’t clear exactly what the drones were targeting. Intelligence sources speculate they may have been aiming at the parked Mi17 helicopters and transport aircraft—or air traffic control. But the lack of clarity may be due to the drones themselves: “Because of their light make and poor precision when flying with payload, they can have a dropping range of 100 m to 150 m, which means they can miss their mark by quite a distance.”
The origin: We still don’t know whether these drones were sent over the border from Pakistan or originated within the border. India Today cites unnamed sources who claim it was a terrorist attack launched from a location close to the airbase.
The investigation: A team each from the Bomb Data Centre of the National Security Guard (NSG) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have launched a probe—and the Jammu police have registered an FIR on terrorism charges.
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