Daily Vocabulary Builder – The Hindu Editorial with Vocabulary
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The Hindu Editorial with Vocabulary – “The Dragon Beckons Again”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China should be seen in the context of the flux of global geopolitics.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes to China on April 27, against the background of turbulence in global geopolitics and some domestic disquiet about “softening” of India’s China policy.
The international backdrop is worrying in many respects. The face-off between the U.S. (and its allies) and Russia is arguably worse than during the Cold War. They confront each other, through proxy forces, in three active conflict zones — Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan. The recent U.S.-French-British missile strikes in Syria were a stark reminder. It now emerges that prior communication to the Russians had ensured that equipment, personnel and civilians had been evacuated in advance. However, such deconfliction arrangements seem to be episodic, and there is a lurking danger that miscalculation or brinkmanship might spark off a direct conflict at a local level.
Sanctions — particularly the new U.S. legislation, CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), under which it can impose sanctions on any company which engages with Russia in the defence or energy sector — impart a sharper edge to the confrontation. This weapon was not wielded in anything like this form in the Cold War; its impact could be far more devastating in today’s globalised world. Recent American sanctions on major Russian multinationals, whose stocks are internationally traded, widened the target beyond Russian oligarchs to a larger body of shareholders within and outside Russia.
As the U.S. ratchets up pressure on Russia, it has donned kid gloves in dealing with China, as indicated by U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets. A recent tweet appreciates Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers” and “his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers”.
While India is being asked to address its trade surplus of about $25 billion with the U.S., Mr. Trump asked China (in a tweet last month) to reduce its massive trade surplus of about $375 billion with the U.S. by just $1 billion! He probably meant $100 billion, as has been suggested by his Administration, but it is worth noting that in 2017 alone, the U.S.’s trade imbalance rose by about $28 billion. America’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade grouping excluding China, effectively benefited China.
India itself, running a trade deficit of over $50 billion with China, is in difficult negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade grouping that includes China, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The unpredictability of U.S. foreign policy is driving even its closest allies to hedge their options. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Mr. Xi are to exchange visits in the near future — a significant breakthrough in relations between two strategic rivals, who were on the verge of a military confrontation about five years ago. Japan (like India) is concerned about China’s assertiveness in its neighbourhood and the geopolitical implications of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Yet, having failed to persuade Mr. Trump (with whom he claims excellent personal chemistry) to rethink U.S. withdrawal from the TPP and uncertain about the consistency of U.S. policy in the region, Mr. Abe sees benefit in sustaining a dialogue with China, whose positive response reflects its own desire to keep in touch with a U.S. ally, in the face of conflicting U.S. signals on trade and security policies.
The sharpening of U.S.-Russia acrimony has complicated India’s relations with both countries. Besides pressure to address the India-U.S. trade imbalance, India has been warned that its defence and energy links with Russia could attract U.S. sanctions under CAATSA — a development which could have a major impact on our defence preparedness. Russia’s intensifying defence cooperation with China and its actions in Afghanistan and with Pakistan are areas on which serious and delicate high-level India-Russia dialogue is being pursued.
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Mutual interest in serenity
This is the backdrop to the current “reset” in India-China relations. With a strengthening Russia-China axis and with the U.S. taking its eye off China to deal with Russia, it is prudent for India to maintain a harmonious dialogue with China, even as we deal with the wrinkles in our relations with the other two great powers. China’s motivation in extending the olive branch may be similar: to maintain serenity in relations while it deals with its other challenges.
This is not to say that India should not stand firm on its core interests, political, economic or strategic. We cannot overlook Chinese designs in our neighbourhood — from Doklam to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives — or ignore the larger geopolitical threat posed by the land and sea corridors of the BRI. It is just that circumstances may have opened up some space for furthering mutual interests, without compromising on our other interests.
Countries do not publicly admit adverse asymmetries in relations, but their policymakers have to factor them into their policies and actions. Of course, even countries in adverse asymmetric relationships have levers which can and should be used to further their vital interests. In most cases, this is best done through quiet dialogue instead of public airing of differences, which hardens attitudes.
Importance of messaging
It is a valid point that the public messaging on this change in tone of the India-China relationship could have been better. The course of India-China relations in the past couple of years had created a public narrative of bilateral frictions over CPEC, Doklam, our Nuclear Suppliers Group membership and other issues, on which India had to take strong public positions. The transformation in the international environment, creating opportunities for non-confrontational dialogue, could perhaps have been better explained. Foreign policy can be pursued far more effectively when it is supported by public perceptions.
The reality is that India has to maintain a pragmatic Way of dealing with something is based on practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones) balance in its relations with the three major powers, remaining conscious of the fact that elements of these relations will be continuously impacted by the dynamic flux of today’s global geopolitics. The Prime Minister’s visit to China should be seen in this context.
Vocabulary Words from The Hindu Editorial
1. Lurk(verb) घात में रहना/ छिप कर बैठना/ दुबकना : (of a person or animal) be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something. (to move stealthily or be concealed, esp for evil purposes)
Synonyms: Skulk, Loiter, Hide, Conceal, Sneak, Sidle, Slink, Prowl, Steal
Antonyms: Expose, Reveal, Manifest, Appear
Example: This is an extreme case but it highlights the dangers that lurk online.
2. Brinkmanship(noun) अस्थिरता : The art or practice of pursuing a dangerous policy to the limits of safety before stopping, typically in politics.
Synonyms: Manoeuvring, Tactic, Politicking, Strategy
Antonyms: Carefulness, Caution, Precaution, Prudence, Wariness
Example: They are engaged in a game of political brinkmanship.
3. Spark off(phrasal verb) शुरू करना/आरम्भ करना: To bring into being or action; activate or initiate.
Synonyms: Initiate, Actuate, Activate, Trigger, Crank, Catalyze, Incite, Launch
Antonyms: Arrest, Brake, Check, Halt, Jam, Stall, Stop Decelerate, Repress, Suppress
Example: This, he feared, might spark off further violence from one, if not both, of the groups involved, and achieve little of significance.
4. Ratchet (phrasal verb) थोड़ी –थोड़ी मात्रा में वृद्धि करना : To increase, or make something increase, repeatedly and by small amounts. (to increase or decrease, esp irreversibly)
Synonyms: Increase, Raise, Soar, Hike, Escalate, Bourgeon, Accumulate
Antonyms: Ratchet down, Abate, De-escalate, Decline, Taper, Lessen, Wane
Example: Don’t ratchet up the pressure by attempting to cook spectacular food.
5. Treating with Kid gloves(idiom) विनम्रता के साथ संभालना : To treat someone with extra care and gentleness.
Synonyms: Infantilize, Pamper, Cherish, Cosset, Coddle
Antonyms: Careless, Incautious, Indiscreet, Negligent
Example: After my nervous breakdown, everyone kept treating me with kid gloves.
6. Hedge(verb) वचनबद्ध होने से बचना : To avoid giving a promise or making a clear, direct response or statement. (limit or qualify (something) by conditions or exceptions/ to evade decision or action, esp by making noncommittal statements)
Synonyms: Confine, Restrict, Limit, Tergiversate, Pussyfoot, Constrain, Fudge
Antonyms: Absolute, Certainty, Release, Expose, Show, Commit
Example: Evergreen shrub that can be left to grow into a small tree, or clipped to make a fine hedge.
7. Acrimony(noun) रूखापन/ चिड़चिड़ापन/ अप्रियता : Angry and bitter feelings. (Acrimony is bitter and angry words or quarrels.)
Synonyms: Rancour, Resentment, Ill feeling, Bad blood, Animosity, Hostility, Enmity, Antagonism
Antonyms: Gentleness, Kindliness, Mildness, Goodwill, Civility
Example: This need not be a divorce full of acrimony but one with a great deal of residual affection.
8. Extending the olive branch(idiom) शांति और सुलह का संकेत : To extend an offer or gesture of peace, reconciliation, (to someone), so as to end a disagreement or dispute.
Synonyms: Conciliation, Compromise, Truce. Peacemaking
Antonyms: Break Up, Estrangement, Conflict
Example: Whenever I have an argument with my girlfriend it’s always me who has to extend the olive branch.
9. Adverse(adjective) विपरीत/ हानिकर / प्रतिकूल : Having a negative or harmful effect on something: (contrary or opposite in direction or position)
Synonyms: Unfavourable, Disadvantageous, Inauspicious, Unpropitious, Unfortunate, Unlucky, Untimely, Untoward
Antonym: Beneficial, Good, Helpful, Propitious, Useful, Innocuous, Safe
Example: The culprit will then accept adverse criticism without sulking.
10. Pragmatic(adjective) व्यावहारिक/ हस्तक्षेप करने वाला : Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations. (advocating behaviour that is dictated more by practical consequences than by theory or dogma)
Synonyms: Realistic, Practical philistine, Utilitarian, Commonsensical, Logical, No-nonsense, Rational, Reasonable, Sane, Sensible
Antonym: Idealistic, Visionary, Utopian, Unrealistic, Impractical
Example: A pragmatic approach beckons, which could succeed.
11. Turbulence (noun) अशांति / हंगामा: Turbulence is a state of confusion and disorganized change. (a state or condition of confusion, movement, or agitation; disorder)
Synonyms: Disturbance, tempestuousness , unruliness, instability.
Antonym: Harmony, calmness, quietness, tranquility, stability.
Example: It can be guaranteed that both countries will hit economic and political turbulence.
12. Persuade (verb) राज़ी करना / सहमत कराना/ समझाना : Cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument. (If you persuade someone to do something, you cause them to do it by giving them good reasons for doing it.)
Synonyms: Inveigle, entice, tempt, impress, cajole, gain confidence of, procure, influence.
Antonym: Discourage, disenchant, prevent, suppress, dissuade.
Example: I persuaded Dad to buy me a racing bike for my birthday.
Word of the Day – “Asthenia”
- Jolt (verb) आघात, झटका, धक्का, हचकोला
- Meaning:- If something jolts or if something jolts it, it moves suddenly and quite violently. Or If something jolts someone, it gives them an unpleasant surprise or shock.
- Synonyms: Startle, surprise, shock, stun, shake, take aback, astonish, astound, amaze,
- Antonym: Disadvantage, expectation, indifference.
- Example: The Finance Minister said that “I believe that the biggest jolt has now passed through the global economy, but it is too early to claim victory, especially while unemployment is still rising in the West.”
- उदाहरण: वित्त मंत्री ने कहा कि, “मेरा यह मानना है कि वैश्विक अर्थव्यवस्था विशालतम आघात के दौर से गुजर चुकी है, लेकिन समस्या समाप्त हो जाने का दावा करना अभी जल्दी होगा, विशेष रूप से उस समय जब पश्चिमी देशों में बेरोज़गारी अब भी बढ़ रही है “।
Quote of the Day
“Action is the antidote to despair.” Joan Baez
“निराशा को काम में व्यस्त रहकर दूर भगाया जा सकता है।” जॉन बेइज़
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