Daily Editorial Updates with Vocabulary : China’s conundrum


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Daily Editorial Updates with Vocabulary

China’s conundrum

Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh has caused a flutter (a state of tremulous excitement) in the Beijing roost. Wary (feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems.) of the fallout (the adverse results of a situation or action.) from Dalai Lama’s visit to thepicturesque ) 17th century Tawang monastery, which to Tibetans is next in importance after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the erstwhile abode of the Dalai Lama, China has severely warned India that the visit “to the contested area will inflict (cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by someone or something.) severe damage to China-India relations”. In a reversal of its earlier timidity and nervousness while dealing with China, India has of late become remarkably assertive, sensing correctly that in order to make its big neighbour more sensitive towards its own concerns like the UN Security Council, NSG or Masood Azhar, it has to aggressively confront China on such issues as Tibet and One-China Policy. In China’s reckoning, both are non-negotiable. In fact, the Dalai Lama’s visit may just provide extra ammunition to India, which it may leverage to its advantage both at the political and diplomatic levels.

Since the 1962 war, not a single shot has been fired along the nearly 3500-long disputed border with China, but the Chinese position on the border has remained unaltered. China claims the entire Arunachal Pradesh as its own territory, the swathe (a broad strip or area of something) being referred to as ‘Southern Tibet’. The Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang undermines Chinese claims and strengthens Indian position by imparting legitimacy. This appears to have offended China.

The origin of the dispute dates back to the early 20th century. The 885-km-long northern boundary of Arunachal Pradesh known as the McMahon Line ~ a bone of contention between India and China ~ takes its name from Sir Arthur Henry McMahon, Secretary to the Government of India (1911-14).

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Qing dynasty of China was on the decline. At that point of time, it exercised only a limited control over Tibet, which was autonomous in every respect except foreign policy and international relations which were determined by China. However, taking advantage of the declining powers of the Qing emperor, Tibet started asserting its independence. In a last desperate attempt to reassert its authority, the Qing Government sent military forces to Tibet in 1910, before it itself finally collapsed in the wake of the 1911 Republican Revolution in China, prompting the thirteenth Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, to expel all Chinese officials and troops from Tibet and proclaim the independence of Tibet from Chinese occupation. Tibet sought international recognition for its new freedom in 1913.

A conference was held in 1914 in Simla between Tibet, India and China to settle the frontier and other matters relating to Tibet. While India was represented by Sir McMahon, Ivan Chen represented China and Lonchen Ga-den Shatra Pal-jor Dorje represented Tibet. The accord signed on 3 July 1914, known as the Simla Convention, provided that Tibet would be divided into “Outer Tibet” and “Inner Tibet” ~ “The Governments of Great Britain and China recognising that Tibet is under the suzerainty of China, and recognising also the autonomy of Outer Tibet, engage to respect the territorial integrity of the country, and to abstain from interference in the administration of Outer Tibet (including the selection and installation of the Dalai Lama), which shall remain in the hands of the Tibetan Government at Lhasa.” Outer Tibet covered approximately the same area as the modern Tibet Autonomous Region, while “Inner Tibet” would remain under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. Article 9 of the Convention stated: “For the purpose of the present Convention, the borders of Tibet, and the boundary between Outer and Inner Tibet, shall be as shown in red and blue respectively on the map attached hereto.”

The red line, defining the boundary between Tibet and China, approximately coincides with the McMahon Line, which ran along the highest ridges of the Himalayan ranges following the watershed principle of mapmaking. The only exception was at Tawang, the birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama, which was on the Tibetan side of the watershed, but the British negotiated to shift the McMahon line north of it, thus including Tawang in India for protecting its trade and political interests.

The draft Indo-Tibet boundary was formally confirmed in March 1914 and submitted at the seventh meeting on 22 April 1914 along with the map, which was signed by the Chinese plenipotentiary, Ivan Chen on 27 April 1914. The final 3 July 1914 accord lacked any textual boundary description, but attached an identical map. Delegates from India, China, and Tibet agreed on this frontier, but the talks broke down on the issue of the boundary between Inner and Outer Tibet. Two days later, the Chinese government disavowed its delegate and refused to sign the Convention.

However, the Tibetan and British representative went ahead and with the Agreement and declared that, “We, the Plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and Tibet, hereby record the following declaration to the effect that we acknowledge the annexed convention as initialed to be binding on the Governments of Great Britain and Tibet, and we agree that so long as the Government of China withholds signature to the aforesaid convention she will be debarred from the enjoyment of all privileges accruing there from.” China refused to sign the Convention and emphatically stated that any bilateral agreement between Tibet and Britain would not be recognized by it, since Tibet not being independent could not have independently signed treaties. Further as per the Anglo-Chinese (1906) and AngloRussian (1907) conventions, any such agreement would be invalid without Chinese assent. But Chinese rule in Tibet had effectively ceased by then and China was too weak to challenge the might of the British Empire in India; hence no one challenged the authority of Tibet to sign the agreement. The Survey of India finally published a map showing the McMahon Line as the official boundary between China and India in 1938.

Much is made by scholars like Melvyn Goldstein, Alastair Lamb, Neville Maxwell and others of the fact that the Simla Convention was not signed but only initialled by the Chinese delegate and hence lacked legality. The fact remains that the map of 27 April 1914, showing the India Tibet boundary, bears the full signatures of the Tibetan Plenipotentiary and the Chinese Plenipotentiary. Mr McMahon initialled the map of 27 April 1914, while he and the Tibetan Plenipotentiary had signed the map of 3 July 2014. To deny historical reality, one needs stronger grounds than initials and signatures. The historical reality is that China has never protested against this position until 90 years later ~ in 2006. Both Chou En Lai in his discussions with Nehru in 1960 and Deng Xiapeng in 1985 refrained from referring to Tawang. Chou in fact conceded that while the McMahon Line was “undecided and unfair”, it had become “an accomplished fact” and that “there was no better way than to recognize this Line”. Since then, India and China have held 19 rounds of border talks and signed five confidence-building agreements, in 1993, 1996, 2005, 2012 and 2013. The 7 September 1993 agreement categorically stated that “Pending an ultimate solution to the boundary question between the two countries, the two sides shall strictly respect and observe the line of actual control between the two sides”. This was reiterated in all subsequent agreements. The 2005 agreement further asserted, “In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas.” As The Economist then noted, this “implied that China had dropped its historical demand for Tawang”.

The first time Tawang entered the official discussions was in March 2006, when Dai Bingguo, the special representative for boundary discussions, insisted that the eastern sector including Tawang be made the focal point in border discussions, followed by the Chinese envoy Sun Yuxi claiming the whole of Arunachal Pradesh including Tawang as Chinese territory. This was clearly going against the spirit of the 2005 agreement to leave areas with settled populations undisturbed. In 2007, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told the then External Affairs Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, that mere presence of settled population would not alter Chinese claims.

Since then there has been very little progress in negotiations between the two countries which have practically been stalled. Relations have become strained, moving from ‘dispute settlement to crisis management’. India has effectively junked the “One-China policy” intensifying its interactions with Taiwan, and connecting it with China’s acceptance of a “One India policy”. China should realise that diplomacy and international relations depend on reciprocity.India is not overly disturbed over Chinese activities in Aksai Chin which was India’s territory as a legacy of history. Neither has it engaged in robust diplomacy to counter Chinese involvement in the POK, through which China is building its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It is time China realised that it is now dealing with a mature, strong and confident India.

Magical Vocabulary from “The Statesman”

  1. Fallout(noun):The adverse results of a situation or action(secondary)./ a secondary and often lingering effect, result, or set of consequences  (प्रतिकूल परिणाम)

Synonyms: Side Effect, Aftermath, Repercussion, Corollary.

Antonyms: Cause, Origin.

Example: His vigorous election campaign showed that he was prepared to take calculated risks regardless of political fallout.

  1. Inflict(verb):Cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by someone or something./ to cause (something unpleasant) to be endured.

Synonyms: Bring Upon, Force Upon, Be A Cause To.

Example: If not controlled, the insects will inflict serious damage on our crops.

  1. Abode(noun): A place of residence; a house or home. (आवास/निवासस्थान)

Synonyms: Home, House, Place of Residence/Habitation, Habitat

Example: On the camping trip, a tent will be our abode and protect us from the elements.

  1. Suzerainty(noun):A situation in which a powerful region or people controls the foreign policy and international relations of a tributary vassal state while allowing the subservient nation internal autonomy. (आधिपत्य)

Synonyms: Dominion, Principality, Scepter, Sovereignty.

Antonyms: Subservience, Subordination.

Example: The two countries fought for Suzerainty of the newly discovered island.

  1. Picturesque(adjective):Attractive, especially in a quaint or charming way. (निराला/मनोहर)

Synonyms: Attractive, Pretty, Beautiful, Lovely, Scenic, Charming, Quaint, Pleasing, Delightful.

Antonyms: Dreary, Offensive, Plain, Repulsive, Ugly.

Example: On the trip up the mountain, people always stop and take photos of the picturesque scenery.

  1. Plenipotentiary(adjective): A person, especially a diplomat, invested with the full power of independent action on behalf of their government, typically in a foreign country. (प्रतिनिधिक)

Synonyms: Diplomat, Representative; Ambassador, Emissary, Chargé D’affaires.

Example: Since the president is too ill to attend the conference, he is sending the vice-president as his Plenipotentiary.

  1. Disavow(verb):Deny any responsibility or support for. (इनकार करना/ मानना)

Synonyms: Deny, Disclaim, Disown, Disaffirm, Gainsay.

Antonyms: Acknowledge, Admit, Allow, Avow, Concede, Confirm, Own.

Example: In order to disavow her part in the robbery, the criminal had to testify against her conspirators.

  1. Annex(verb):Add as an extra or subordinate part, especially to a document. (पूरक अंश करना /जोड़ना)

Synonyms: Adjoin, Affix, Append, Add, Attach.

Antonyms: Detach, Disconnect, Disjoin, Disunite, Divide, Divorce.

Example: Once our company grew bigger, we had to increase the size of the manufacturing plant by adding an annex.

  1. Aforesaid(adjective):Previously mentioned. (पूर्वकथित/पूर्वोल्लिखित)

Synonyms: Aforementioned, Aforenamed, Previously Described, Foregoing.

Antonyms: After Mentioned.

Example: Before any of the Aforesaid performers take the stage, the judges will decide which individual will leave the contest tonight.

  1. Reciprocity(noun):The practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another. (पारस्परिकता)

Synonyms: Mutuality, Exchange.

Antonyms: Separation, Hostility.

Example: Because my best friend and I have mutual reciprocity, we always look out for each other.

Courtesy And Copyright :-   The Statesman


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