ON September 14 at around 2 am, a swarm of low-flying drones, allegedly operated by Houthi rebels in Yemen, ducked the highly sophisticated Saudi-US air defense radar network of Patriot III and THAAD systems. They struck at Abqaiq, the world’s largest oil processing facility and Khurais, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest oilfield. Saudi oil production fell by 5.7 mn barrels a day from 9.8 mn barrels a day, the largest disruption to the oil market by a terrorist attack.
Apparently, the drones were rudimentary and inexpensive and cleverly wired to wreak havoc and disruption. Just think about it. This happened despite such an attack having been simulated in February 2012 at the Interdisciplinary Centre, Herzliya, Israel, with counter-measures worked out. The ripples of the stunning success of the Iran-backed Houthi rebel attacks have shaken the Middle East and the rest of the oil-producing world. They will undoubtedly raise their anti-drone/missile safety net with an expensive array of defensive systems such as the Russian S400. What is obviously needed is an early warning and surveillance air defense network to destroy low-flying drones.
In India, commercial drones completely surprised the Punjab police, BSF, Army and IAF air defense systems between September 9-16. At least four Chinese commercial drones were able to infiltrate across the border near Tarn Taran and execute eight to 10 sorties over eight days. Just think about it. The third-largest army in the world and the second-largest police and paramilitary force were caught napping till module members of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) were arrested and led the Punjab police to a cache of military stores and the crash site of one of the disabled drones.
An extremely grave breach of aerial security on the Pakistan-Punjab border was fortuitously discovered through the Punjab police capturing KZF module members who were to receive the weapons consignment and smuggle it into J&K following the abrogation of Article 370.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
After the clash between farmers and the police on R-Day, a slew of lawsuits was filed. Courts have now ordered the Delhi police to upload all relevant FIRs from Nangloi police station on its website
What Will Jack Think
The job of teachers in the lives of their students can be profound. Like French philosopher Albert Camus, I too had kind, thoughtful and morally upright teachers whose influence guided me in my legal profession
I Kid You Not
Gujarat has decided to disqualify three political candidates under the norm. Other states too have had such stipulations, leading to a drop in India’s fertility rate
The Political Toolkit
The arrest of the 22-year-old climate change activist on charges of sedition has created global headlines and sparked protests. What exactly is this toolkit and what was her role in it?
SEDITION: SUPREME COURT VIEW
The sedition law, under which Gandhi and his freedom fighters were jailed, has been reviled and condemned as anachronistic and an imperialist hand me down. It has also been challenged in court. But it still flourishes.
While the centre’s plan to establish a Rs 20,000-crore DFI for infrastructure projects is an old idea, its success will depend on transparency and accountability and its engagement with stakeholders
Taking on Twitter
After foreign tweets on Indian developments led to controversy, the government has reacted to Twitter on Koo, a homegrown micro-blogging site. Having two platforms will cool down passions
A Powerful Tool, but Handle with Care
As diamond merchant Nirav Modi faces extradition from the UK on February 25, the fact is that India has not had much success in this sphere. With Vijay Mallya too facing extradition, the issue is a complex one
A New Net-scape
Google’s deals with several news organisations to pay for exclusive content could set a precedent and open a Pandora’s Box of payment demands. This has the potential to change the dynamics of Internet business models
An Act of God, No Doubt, But Which One?
An admirable judgment from the Madras High Court relieved a trader from paying license fee during the lockdown and focuses on the “impossibility” of performance of the contract and sees it under the scanner of Article 14