a) On a new keel: Netanyahu’s visit to India

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India this week was the final step in the process of fully normalising the bilateral relationship. That process began in 1992 when India established diplomatic ties with Israel, with major milestones in 2003 when Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit India, in 2015 when President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel, and in 2017 when Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. With Mr. Netanyahu’s six-day visit, the focus is now on the future, and their joint statement drew a 25-year timeline in which to realise the potential of the strategic partnership. The close personal equation between the two leaders was evident throughout the visit, with Mr. Modi hosting Mr. and Ms. Netanyahu in Gujarat, where they flew kites and took part in a roadshow. Mr. Netanyahu also made the traditional trip to the Taj Mahal, and a symbolic journey to Mumbai’s Chabad House, one of the sites of the 26/11 terror attacks where Israeli citizens were among those killed. On business, Mr. Modi welcomed Israeli partnership in Indian manufacturing, pointing to the winning combination of an India that has “size and scale” and an Israel that has “sharpness and edge”. Mr. Netanyahu’s case, made at a speech inaugurating the Foreign Ministry’s annual Raisina Dialogue, was that the two countries have a “natural partnership” and a “natural friendship” that also caters to their need for hard power. With a relationship that is more open, India has also decided to have a more honest conversation with Israel on the peace process. While the Modi-Netanyahu meeting in July 2017 had practically brushed aside the Israel-Palestine peace process, the joint statement issued on Monday in New Delhi “reaffirmed their support for an early resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians”. This indicates that the two Prime Ministers had a deeper conversation on the issue this time, including India’s vote at the UN against the decision of the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Mr. Modi is expected to visit Ramallah as well as meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who as the custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem is leading peace efforts in the Arab world, and is due in New Delhi shortly. This would take forward India’s commitment to assisting in finding a just solution for the conflict. It will require using the leverage India has built over the decades among Israelis and Palestinians in order to join global and regional powers in pushing them back to the negotiating table. It will also involve challenging Mr. Netanyahu’s contention that struck a jarring note in his otherwise successful visit. He said: “The weak don’t survive. The strong survive. You make peace with the strong. You ally with the strong.” India must stick to its strategy of strengthening ties with Israel without damaging its commitment to the West Asian peace process, and build its friendships and alignments in a way that goes beyond an appraisal of strengths and weaknesses.

b) The away challenge: India’s Test performances overseas

The familiar free-fall outside the Indian subcontinent has returned to haunt Virat Kohli’s men. In the two Tests of the current three-match series in South Africa, India lost a closely-fought game by 72 runs at Cape Town and then collapsed to a 135-run defeat in the next clash in Centurion. Trailing 0-2 and helming a unit searching for batting cohesion, skipper Kohli has to cope with a tough challenge. He sparkled with a 153 in the second Test but, as it used to happen during Sachin Tendulkar’s heyday in the 1990s, that proved to be a fine but futile effort in a lost cause. The stench of defeat is an unfamiliar odour for the national cricket team, with Kohli’s troops performing splendidly over the last two years. Yet, it would be prudent to accept that the cloak of invincibility was donned at home where rivals ranging from Australia to Bangladesh were humbled, and when India travelled, it was to secure overwhelming triumphs against weak opposition teams such as Sri Lanka and the West Indies. There is no denying the strengths of this team but it is a fact that since the last tour of Australia in the 2014-15 season, India largely played in its backyard and was never tested. The reputations of a player and team are burnished by gritty performances abroad and against quality opposition. For instance, Rahul Dravid often conjures up visions of his mind-boggling batting in the 2003 Adelaide Test that India won. Kohli and company have an opportunity to script similar milestones in the next 12 months, in the Test series in England and Australia. Before that, the squad has to clean up the mess it finds itself within South Africa. The opening slots, often a merry-go-round between M. Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and K.L. Rahul, need to be sorted out. There is also the tumult over omitting Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, with the captain preferring Rohit Sharma. The latter may be exemplary in abridged versions, but in the longest format he has failed to ignite his luminous talent. It doesn’t help that Kohli has had to constantly shuffle his squad over the last 34 Tests. Coach Ravi Shastri has proclaimed that his wards can collectively do things that no other Indian team has done in the past — a recognition perhaps of its inherent talent. But India can excel in England and Australia only if the threats posed by their fast bowlers are fended off. The number one Test side is set to be asked some tough questions, and the way it responds to them will shape assessments of Kohli’s performance as a captain.


1) Brushed aside

Meaning: To refuse to consider something seriously because you feel that it is not important.

Example: She brushed their objections aside, saying “Leave it to me.”

Synonyms: Unimportant, Dismiss

2) Resumption

Meaning: The action of beginning something again after a pause or interruption.

Example: “with peace came the resumption of foreign imports”

Synonyms: Restart, Renewal

Antonyms: Suspension, Abandonment

3) Conflict

Meaning: A prolonged armed struggle.

Example: “regional conflicts”

Synonyms: War, Action

Antonyms: Peace

4) Leverage

Meaning: The power to influence a person or situation.

Example: “the right wing had lost much of its political leverage in the Assembly”

Synonyms: Influence, Power

5) Contention

Meaning: Heated disagreement.

Example: “the captured territory was the main area of contention between the two countries”

Synonyms: Disagreement, Dispute

Antonyms: Agreement

6) Jarring

Meaning: Incongruous in a striking or shocking way; clashing.

Example: “the telephone struck a jarring note in those Renaissance surroundings”

7) Free-fall

Meaning: The process of failing or losing value or strength quickly and continuously.

Example: Only massive changes in government policies will prevent the peso going into free fall.

Synonyms: Failure, Mess

8) Haunt

Meaning: Be persistently and disturbingly present in (the mind).

Example: “the sight haunted me for years”

Synonyms: Torment, Obsess

9) Collapsed

Meaning: Fail suddenly and completely.

Example: “the talks collapsed last week over territorial issues”

Synonyms: Fail, Fold

Antonyms: Succeed

10) Helming

Meaning: A position of leadership; manage (an organization).

Example: “the magazine he helmed in the late eighties”

11) Cohesion

Meaning: The action or fact of forming a united whole.

Example: “the work at present lacks cohesion”

Synonyms: Unity, Continuity

12) Cope

Meaning: (of a person) deal effectively with something difficult.

Example: “his ability to cope with stress”

Synonyms: Manage, Survive

3) Sparkled

Meaning: Shine brightly with flashes of light.

Example: “her earrings sparkled as she turned her head”

Synonyms: Glitter, Glint

Antonyms: Dull, Matte

14) Heyday

Meaning: The period of a person’s or thing’s greatest success, popularity, activity, or vigour.

Example: “the paper has lost millions of readers since its heyday in 1964”

Synonyms: Prime, Peak

Antonyms: Low

15) Futile

Meaning: Incapable of producing any useful result; pointless.

Example: “a futile attempt to keep fans from mounting the stage”

Synonyms: Fruitless, Vain

Antonyms: Useful, Fruitful

16) Stench

Meaning: A strong and very unpleasant smell.

Example: “the stench of rotting fish”

Synonyms: Stink, Reek

17) Odour

Meaning: A lingering quality or impression attaching to something.

Example: “an odour of suspicion”

Synonyms: Aura, Quality

18) Splendidly

Meaning: In a magnificent or very impressive manner.

Example: “the ceiling is splendidly decorated”

19) Prudent

Meaning: Acting with or showing care and thought for the future.

Example: “no prudent money manager would authorize a loan without first knowing its purpose”

Synonyms: Wise, Judicious

Antonyms: Unwise, Imprudent

20) Cloak

Meaning: Hide, cover, or disguise (something).

Example: “she cloaked her embarrassment by rushing into speech”

Synonyms: Conceal, Hide

21) Invincibility

Meaning: The quality of being too powerful to be defeated or overcome.

Example: “he gave off an aura of invincibility”

22) Donned

Meaning: A university teacher, especially a senior member of a college at Oxford or Cambridge.

Example: “he had been a don at Oxford”

Synonyms: Academic, Fellow

23) Humbled

Meaning: Decisively defeat (a sporting opponent previously thought to be superior).

Example: “Wales were humbled at Cardiff Arms Park by Romania”

Synonyms: Defeat, Beat

24) Overwhelming

Meaning: Very great in amount.

Example: “his party won overwhelming support”

Synonyms: Immense, Massive

Antonyms: Small

25) Backyard

Meaning: The area close to where one lives, regarded with proprietorial concern.

Example: “children must be made aware of environmental issues in their own backyard”

26) Burnished

Meaning: Enhance or improve.

Example: “a man who took advantage of any opportunity to burnish his image”

27) Gritty

Meaning: Showing courage and resolve.

Example: “a typically gritty performance by the British player”

Synonyms: Courageous, Brave

28) Conjures up

Meaning: To make a picture or idea appear in someone’s mind.

Example: The glittering ceremony conjured up images of Russia’s imperial past.

Synonyms: Remembering, Reminding

29) Mind-boggling

Meaning: Overwhelming; startling.

Example: “the implications are mind-boggling”

30) Merry-go-round

Meaning: A continuous cycle of activities or events, especially when regarded as pointless.

Example: “the football management merry-go-round”

31) Sorted out

Meaning: An occasion when you put things in order or in their correct place.

Example: I’ve had a sort-out in the bedroom – it’s looking rather better.

32) Tumult

Meaning: A state of confusion or disorder.

Example: “the whole neighbourhood was in a state of fear and tumult”

Synonyms: Turmoil, Confusion

Antonyms: Peace, Tranquility

33) Exemplary

Meaning: Serving as a desirable model; very good.

Example: “exemplary behaviour”

Synonyms: Perfect, Ideal

Antonyms: Deplorable, Unworthy

34) Abridged

Meaning: Shorten (a book, film, speech, etc.) without losing the sense.

Example: “an abridged text of his speech”

Synonyms: Shorten, Trancate

Antonyms: Lengthen, Expanded

35) Ignite

Meaning: Arouse or inflame (an emotion or situation).

Example: “the words ignited new fury in him”

Synonyms: Arouse, Kindle

Antonyms: Dampen

36) Luminous

Meaning: Giving off light; bright or shining.

Example: “the luminous dial on his watch”

Synonyms: Shining, Bright

Antonyms: Dull, Dark

37) Proclaimed

Meaning: Indicate clearly.

Example: “his high, intelligent forehead proclaimed a strength of mind that was almost tangible”

Synonyms: Demonstrate, Indicate

38) Inherent

Meaning: Existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.

Example: “any form of mountaineering has its inherent dangers”

Synonyms: Intrinsic, Innate

Antonyms: Alien

39) Posed

Meaning: Present or constitute (a problem or danger).

Example: “the sheer number of visitors is posing a threat to the area”

Synonyms: Constitute, Present

40) Fended off             

Meaning: To push or send away an attacker or other unwanted person.

Example: He managed to fend off his attackers with a stick.

Synonyms: Beat, Fight


Other Important THE HINDU EDITORIALS for the month of December , 2017 :


Other Important THE HINDU EDITORIALS for the month of January , 2018 :