The Hindu Editorial : March 29,2019

Dear Aspirants,

Daily Current Affairs (March 29, 2019) like many other sections is inevitable and this also helps to score in the Banking awareness, Static GK and Financial Awareness sections. Remember, Banking Awareness and Static Awareness Questions are asked from the General Awareness section. This will also help you to ride your preparations for the forthcoming exams.

A) Power in space: on Mission Shakti

Mission Shakti might have had one message for India, and another for the world

India has entered an elite space club with the Defence Research and Development Organisation blowing up a satellite in a Low Earth Orbit into smithereens. Such Indian capability to take out moving objects has never really been in doubt: the DRDO announced it as early as in 2011. Indeed, India has been in the business of testing long-range missiles for years, although public attention on the space programme has been mostly on its civilian and scientific aspects. The military dimension, though always latent, had not seen a verifiable demonstration as in the case of Mission Shakti, the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test. The display of technological prowess through the test accentuates the military dimension and brings into play an overwhelming assurance of what the Ministry of External Affairs describes as a ‘credible deterrence’ against attacks on India’s growing number of space assets. Although only three other countries, the U.S., Russia, and China, have previously demonstrated this capability, it is possible to surmise that countries with long-range missiles could do the same with equal effectiveness. But India, surely, is staking a forward claim as a space weapons power.

While the country celebrates the test as a scientific achievement, it must also dwell on the possibility that this might goad its none-too-friendly neighbour Pakistan into a competitive frenzy. Also, in the absence of a credible threat to India’s space assets from China or any other country with Anti-Satellite missile capabilities, whether the ‘deterrence’ sought to be achieved by this test would lead to a more stable strategic security environment is not certain. There are other questions, too. Will the test spur space weaponisation? Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while announcing the success of the test, was clear that India wanted to maintain peace rather than indulge in warmongering. And, by targeting a low-orbit satellite, the missile test did the utmost possible to minimise space debris, which is an issue of international concern. But, within India, the timing of the test, when the country is already in election mode, does raise concerns whether this was aimed at the domestic constituency. The Election Commission is now seized of the question whether the Prime Minister might have violated the Model Code of Conduct. If it does find the timing amiss, the Modi government could be in for some serious embarrassment. Ideally, the test should not have been a matter for a partisan political debate, but given the hypernationalist political plank of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mission Shakti might have more reverberations on the ground than it has had in space.

B) Dangerous precedent: on U.S. endorsing Israel’s Golan sovereignty

The U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights is in bad faith

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights hardly came as a surprise given his administration’s blatant pro-Israel stance. It may sound ironic that a President who promised to facilitate a deal between Israelis and Palestinians has turned out to be the most pro-Israel President in U.S. history. Mr. Trump has already recognised as Israel’s capital Jerusalem, a city it captured in parts in the 1948 and 1967 wars and which is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Before he announced his intention to recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan, a State Department report had dropped the word ‘occupied’ in references to Golan Heights and the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, hinting at where the administration stood on the issue. Israel captured Golan, a strategically important plateau beside the Sea of Galilee, from Syria in the 1967 war. Among the territories it captured in the war, Israel has returned only the Sinai Peninsula, to Egypt. It annexed East Jerusalem and Golan Heights and continues to occupy the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 1981, as it passed the Golan annexation legislation, the Security Council passed a resolution that said, “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect”.

Unlike Egypt in the 1970s, Syria has had neither the military ability nor the international clout to launch a campaign to get its territory back. President Bashar al-Assad tried to kick-start a U.S.-mediated peace process with Israel during the Obama presidency, but it failed to take off. And now, the Syrian government, after fighting eight years of a civil war, is debilitated and isolated, and the U.S. move is unlikely to trigger any strong response, even from the Arab world. But that is the least of the problems. Mr. Trump’s decision flouts international norms and consensus, and sets a dangerous precedent for nations involved in conflicts. The modern international system is built on sovereignty, and every nation- state is supposed to be an equal player before international laws irrespective of its military or economic might. The U.S., by recognising the sovereignty of Israel over a piece of land that the latter captured from Syria 52 years ago, is challenging this and normalising occupation. The decision also overlooks the wishes of the inhabitants of the territory. Most of the Druze population that has been living in Golan for generations has resisted Israel’s offer of citizenship and remained loyal to Syria. This they did even amidst Israel’s settlement activities. This is a conflict that needs to be settled between Israel and Syria at some point of time under international mediation. Mr. Trump is making the possibility of any future peaceful settlement difficult by recognising Israel’s sovereignty, just as he made any future Israeli-Palestinian settlement complicated with his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.


1) latent

Meaning : (of a quality or state) existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden or concealed.

Synonyms : inherent

Antonyms : active

Example : “they have a huge reserve of latent talent”

2) prowess

Meaning : skill or expertise in a particular activity or field(n).

Synonyms : dexterity

Antonyms : inability

Example : “his prowess as a fisherman”

3) overwhelm

Meaning : bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water(v).

Tamil Meaning : மூழ்கடித்துவிடும்

Synonyms : deluge

Antonyms : encourage

Example : “floodwaters overwhelmed hundreds of houses”

4) surmise

Meaning : suppose that something is true without having evidence to confirm it.

Synonyms : assumption

Antonyms : certainty

Example : “he surmised that something must be wrong”

5) staking

Meaning : support (a plant) with a stake or stakes(v).

Synonyms : paling

Antonyms : whole

Example : “the gladioli were staked in gaudy ranks”

6) dwell

Meaning : think, speak, or write at length about (a particular subject, especially one that is a source of unhappiness, anxiety, or dissatisfaction)(v).

Synonyms : exist

Antonyms : advance

Example : “I’ve got better things to do than dwell on the past”

7) deterrence

Meaning : the action of discouraging an action or event through instilling doubt or fear of the consequences(n).

Synonyms : determent

Example : “nuclear missiles remain the main deterrence against possible aggression”

8) indulge

Meaning : allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of.

Tamil Meaning : ஈடுபடுதல்

Synonyms : nourish

Antonyms : deprive

Example : “we indulged in a cream tea”

9) concern

Meaning : relate to; be about(v).

Tamil Meaning : அக்கறை

Synonyms : interest

Antonyms : pastime

Example : “the story concerns a friend of mine”

10) amiss

Meaning : not quite right; inappropriate or out of place(adj).

Tamil Meaning : ஒழுங்கற்று

Synonyms : improper

Antonyms : proper

Example : “there was something amiss about his calculations”

11) plank

Meaning : a fundamental point of a political or other programme(n).

Synonyms : platform

Example : “the central plank of the bill is the curb on industrial polluters”

12) reverberations

Meaning : prolongation of a sound; resonance(n).

Synonyms : consequence

Antonyms : silences

Example : “electronic effects have been added, such as echo and reverberation”

13) recognise

Meaning : acknowledge the existence, validity, or legality of.

Synonyms : acknowledge

Antonyms : ignore

Example : “the defence is recognized in British law”

14) blatant

Meaning : (of bad behaviour) done openly and unashamedly(adj).

Tamil Meaning : அப்பட்டமான

Synonyms : flagrant

Antonyms : concealed

Example : “blatant lies”

15) stance

Meaning : the way in which someone stands, especially when deliberately adopted (as in cricket, golf, and other sports); a person’s posture(n).

Tamil Meaning : நிலைப்பாடு

Synonyms : posture

Antonyms : ignore

Example : “she altered her stance, resting all her weight on one leg”

16) amidst

Meaning : surrounded by; in the middle of.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : betwixt

Example : “our dream home, set amid magnificent rolling countryside”

17) precedent

Meaning : an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances(n).

Synonyms : criterion

Antonyms : beyond

Example : “there are substantial precedents for using interactive media in training”

18) debilitated

Meaning : in a very weakened and infirm state.

Synonyms : enervated

Antonyms : active

Example : “a debilitated patient”

19) consensus

Meaning : in a very weakened and infirm state.

Synonyms : consent

Antonyms : denial

Example : “a debilitated patient”

20) conflicts

Meaning : be incompatible or at variance; clash(v).

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonyms : combat

Antonyms : truce

Example : “parents’ and children’s interests sometimes conflict”