THE HINDU EDITORIAL -18    July 2017

a) Easing the rhetoric:

The Centre’s briefing to the Opposition on the ongoing stand-offwith China on the Doklam plateau was long overdue. The Defence, Home and External Affairs Ministers and senior officials, including the National Security Adviser and Foreign Secretary, spent two evenings explaining the ground position and the strategy ahead to Opposition leaders representing the political spectrum and different States. This is a clear signal of the gravity with which the government views the situation at Doklam, and the bipartisan iteration of the national interest that New Delhi would like to underline at a time of heightened rhetoric from the Chinese foreign office and media. The message the government sent, beyond the facts of how the stand-off began, was threefold: that Indian troops now sit across from Chinese troops for a second month at a part of the tri-junction claimed by Bhutan; that India is upholding its commitment to Bhutan with its military presence there; and finally, that it is pursuing all diplomatic options in order to resolve differences with China on the dispute. China has so far rejected any talks until the Indian troops move back. But New Delhi’s insistence on neither asking the troops to step back nor stopping the pursuit of dialogue is a mature response. It is to be hoped that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s coming visit to Beijing to attend a BRICS meeting hosted by his counterpart, and other engagements in the run-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to Xiamen for the BRICS summit in September, will see this strategy bear fruit. In inviting television panellists and foreign policy analysts to a separate briefing on Doklam some weeks ago, the External Affairs Ministry also indicated a desire to control the narrative emanating from India, by restraining easily excitable commentators and TV anchors from wrapping themselves in the flag and advocating aggressive military postures. However, India will have to do much more than control the message to resolve this stand-off. China’s continued belligerence, amplified by its state-owned media outlets, on the issue suggests that the ‘Astana consensus’ between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to not “allow differences to become disputes” is a fragile one. Despite all provocations, it should be kept in mind that Indian troops stand not on Indian territory but on territory claimed by Bhutan, and at Thimphu’s request. China’s actions at Doklam are aimed as much at putting a spotlight on the Indian presence there as they are at compelling Bhutan to loosen the tight bonds that have historically held New Delhi and Thimphu together. Instead of highlighting the stand-off as an India-China dispute, therefore, the government must ensure that every step it takes is in consultation with Thimphu, and make it clear that any final decision it takes will not be about a “win or lose” for India, but dictated by what is in Bhutan’s best interests.

b) Forever young:

Wimbledon’s greatest illusion is the sense of timelessness it evokes. Over the past fortnight on its hallowed lawns, one of its finest champions managed to pull off a similar impression. At 35 years and 342 days, Roger Federer became the oldest man to win the singles title in the Open Era — a full 14 years after he first claimed the title as a scruffy, ponytailed upstart. Sunday’s triumph continued a dominant, magical 2017 for the maestro, something no one saw coming. When he limped offCentre Court with a knee injury last year, beaten in the semi-finals by Milos Raonic, the future had looked bleak. But two far-sighted decisions have proven life-altering. Federer opted to take six months off to undergo surgery and regain his health. Then, after winning the Australian Open, he skipped Roland-Garros, a choice someone who lives for the Majors doesn’t make lightly. He reasoned that his body needed to be spared the exertions of a grinding clay-court season so he could arrive in London ready for an uncompromising tilt at a record eighth title. Once he had survived the opening week, a tricky period during which the tournament isn’t won but is often lost, the astuteness of his judgment become apparent. For, the second week witnessed the range of a rested Federer’s genius. Against Grigor Dimitrov, whose style he has influenced, he was opportunistic, secure in the knowledge that he had too much game for the Bulgarian. Federer saved his most exquisite tennis for the quarter-finals, where he neutralised Raonic’s heavy artillery with cunning finesse. The match offered a measure of his progress since the defeat 12 months back: he looked stronger and sturdier than the haggard figure he had cut at the last Championships, playing with a joie de vivre reminiscent of his younger days. He did not hit the same heights against Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals; he had to draw instead from his reserves of resilience. In the final, he was the cold-blooded closer. Here was the iron fist in a velvet glove, as an injured Marin Čilić was permitted no sympathy. Through the two weeks, Federer’s versatile serve held firm — he was broken just four times en route to a 19th Grand Slam triumph. His balletic movement stayed on point. The switch to a more powerful racquet has clearly helped, as have a recast backhand and an increased willingness to force the pace. He often landed the first strike, an ability grass privileges. And when he didn’t, he was able to make the precise adjustments in footwork and arm-flow that grass’ sometimes quirky bounce forces on a player. His is a method that has aged well. Given that it isn’t reliant on explosive athleticism or muscular ball-striking, both vulnerable to decay, there is cause to believe that Federer will continue to enchant for a while longer. It does not appear as though he is done winning Majors.


1) Rhetoric

Meaning: The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.
Example: He is using a common figure of rhetoric, hyperbole.
Synonyms: Delivery, Expression

2) Insistence

Meaning: The fact or quality of insisting that something is the case or should be done.
Example: Alison’s insistence on doing the washing-up straight after the meal.
Synonyms: Command. Requirement

3) Panellists

Meaning: A member of a panel, especially in a broadcast game or discussion.
Example: Panellists on the Arts Review Board serve for a maximum of three years.
4) Emanating
Meaning: (of a feeling, quality, or sensation) Issue or spread out from (a source); Originate from; be produced by.
Example: The proposals emanated from a committee.
Synonyms: Emerge, Proceed

5) Restraining

Meaning: Control (a strong urge or emotion).
Example: Amiss had to restrain his impatience.
Synonyms: Control, Check
Antonyms: Uncontrolled

6) Wrapping

Meaning: Cover or enclose in paper or soft material; (of a word or unit of text) be carried over automatically as the margin is reached.
Example: He wrapped up the Christmas presents.
Synonyms: Enclose, Cover
Antonyms: Uncover

7) Belligerence

Meaning: Aggressive or warlike behaviour.
Example: Mortimer was eyeing Guy with belligerence.

8) Consensus

Meaning: A general agreement.
Example: There is a growing consensus that the current regime has failed.
Synonyms: Agreement, Concord
Antonyms: Disagreement

9) Provocations

Meaning: Action or speech that makes someone angry, especially deliberately.
Example: You should remain calm and not respond to provocation.
Synonyms: Inducement, Encouragement

10) Scruffy

Meaning: Shabby and untidy or dirty.
Example: A teenager in scruffy jeans and a baggy T-shirt.
Synonyms: Shabby, Worn
Antonyms: Smart, Clean

11) Maestro

Meaning: A distinguished conductor or performer of classical music.
Example: The orchestra was strained after clashes with the great maestro.
Synonyms: Conductor, Director
Antonyms: Beginner

12) Bleak

Meaning: Not hopeful or encouraging; unlikely to have a favourable outcome.
Example: He paints a bleak picture of a company that has lost its way.
Synonyms: Unfavourable, Unpromising
Antonyms: Promising, Hopeful

13) Grinding

Meaning: (of a difficult situation) oppressive and seemingly without end.
Example: Grinding poverty.
Synonyms: Crush, Grate

14) Astuteness

Meaning: Having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one’s advantage.
Example: An astute businessman.
Synonyms: Sharp, Quick
Antonyms: Stupid

15) Exquisite

Meaning: Highly sensitive or discriminating.
Example: Her exquisite taste in painting.
Synonyms: Discriminating, Selective
Antonyms: Crude

16) Cunning

Meaning: Having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion.
Example: A cunning look came into his eyes.
Synonyms: Wily, Devious
Antonyms: Honest

17) Finesse

Meaning: Impressive delicacy and skill.
Example: Orchestral playing of great finesse.
Synonyms: Skill, Flourish

18) Sturdier

Meaning: Showing confidence and determination.
Example: The townspeople have a sturdy independence.
Synonyms: Vigorous, Strong
Antonyms: Weak, Frail

19) Haggard

Meaning: Looking exhausted and unwell, especially from fatigue, worry, or suffering.
Example: She was pale and haggard.
Synonyms: Tired, Raddled
Antonyms: Fresh, Healthy

20) Joie de vivre

Meaning: Exuberant enjoyment of life.
Example: They seem to be filled with joie de vivre.
Synonyms: Cheerfulness, Delight
Antonyms: Depression, Sobriety

21) Reminiscent

Meaning: Suggesting something by resemblance.
Example: “Her robes were vaguely reminiscent of military dress”.
Synonyms: Similar to, Comparable with

22) Resilience

Meaning: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
Example: The often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions.
Synonyms: Fast, Quick
Antonyms: Weakness, Slow

23) Racquet

Meaning: A bat with a round or oval frame strung with catgut, nylon, etc., used especially in tennis, badminton, and squash; a snowshoe resembling a racket.
Example: A squash racket.

24) Quirky

Meaning: Having or characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits or aspects.
Example: Her sense of humour was decidedly quirky.
Synonyms: Eccentric, Unusual
Antonyms: Conventional

25) Athleticism

Meaning: The physical qualities that, are characteristic of athletes, such as strength, fitness, and agility.
Example: What he lacks in stature, he more than makes up for with speed and athleticism.



THE HINDU EDITORIAL – 15, July – 2017