Dear Banking Aspirants,

THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 20, 2018, is one of the must-read section for the competitive exams like IBPS PO, IBPS Clerk 2018, Indian Bank PO & LIC HFL 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension, Cloze Test or Error Detection in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) L’affaire Khashoggi

There are limits to Saudi Arabia’s defiance even within the ambit of narrow national interest

The gory, gruesome and ghastly details of the last few moments in the life of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as reported in the government-controlled Turkish media, have reaffirmed the continuing validity of the universal truth: the pen is mightier than the sword.

Authoritarian regimes not only do not fear open, violent acts of defiance but they also welcome them. It helps them identify opponents of the regime and deal with them with ruthlessness and brutality. Most such acts of opposition would be dismissed as terrorism, as is routinely done by totalitarian regimes. It is the written word, even more than the spoken one, that scares regimes. Khashoggi, after all, was just one person, at one time even close to the ruling circles in Riyadh. He welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform moves in the country such as permitting women to drive cars unaccompanied by male members of the family. But the regime felt so threatened by Khashoggi’s dissident and heretical views that it felt compelled to liquidate him physically.

Nor are those responsible for his suspected murder necessarily unhappy that the horrible details of his torture have come out in the public domain, something they themselves might have greatly hesitated to do. They have achieved the purpose of sending a clear, unambiguous message to all potential trouble makers. The message will no doubt be effective in silencing dissent for a long while.

Tokenism in reactions

Saudi Arabia is defiant. It has warned all those who may be thinking of isolating or even moving sanctions against the regime with dire consequences. Some token action is being taken by some western governments such as demanding a thorough, impartial inquiry into the incident. The chief of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has cancelled her participation at the ‘Davos in the Desert’ Conference, in Riyadh. Significantly, the U.S. Treasury Secretary has joined the boycott. The outrage is universal in the developed world, though the developing countries seem to have decided their own counsel. The Bretton Woods institutions will still need Saudi funding.

This writer has long and firmly believed that foreign policy is all about promoting national interest and that sentiment should have no place in it. This continues to be his conviction. U.S. President Donald Trump follows this principle quite ruthlessly. He is open about it, and not at all hypocritical. He is unabashed in proclaiming that hundreds of billions worth of arms sales are on the line and that he is not prepared to put them in jeopardy.

For all we know, the complicity of the highest levels of the Saudi monarchy may never be fully established; already fall guys are being projected which will give Mr. Trump the fig leaf to continue his cozy relationship with the regime. It remains to be seen if the noises made by some U.S. Senators about imposing sanctions or blocking the arms sales amount to any meaningful action.

It is the same principle of national interest that has inhibited us from confronting the Saudis as well as the Iranians about their open, unchecked support, financial and otherwise, by funding radical Sunni and Shia mosques in India. This is reported to have been going on for decades, perhaps before Independence. Yet, successive governments have not found it possible to protest such behaviour which amounts to direct interference in India’s internal affairs and in radicalising sections of the Muslim community. It was felt that India’s national interest, India’s dependence on West Asian energy sources and anxiety not to upset them too much lest they voted against us in meetings of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, or side with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, is what made us cautious.

India’s deck of cards

Is there a lesson for India in the Saudi Arabian stance of defiance? India does not have the kind of money to throw around as the Saudis have. If India needs their oil, they also need to sell it. They need to sell as much oil as they can to continue with their disastrous misadventure in Yemen. The high level of crude price enables them to prosecute the war with comparably less cost, yet the Crown Prince’s ambitious reform plan will need more money than the kingdom can produce.

If India is forced to reduce the import of Iranian oil to zero in the next few weeks, India does not have to worry about alternate sources of which there are plenty, as the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas has assured us. Saudi Arabia has no choice but to continue to make up the shortfall, first, because it needs to sell its oil, but second and more important, it must do all in its power to weaken and destroy its mortal enemy, the leader of the Shias of the world. As King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told the U.S. a few years ago, “the head of the snake needs to be cut off”. If it becomes useful to befriend India in its relentless campaign against Iran, it will be a small price to pay.

There is yet one more weapon that India can selectively use. Next to the Saudis, we are the largest buyer of weapons in the world. The U.S., France, Russia all have only one interest in India — to sell their extremely expensive war material. They not only earn money, they even earn our gratitude. India has an insatiable thirst for weapons of war and apparently bottomless pockets to pay for them. Mr. Trump, who advocates, for his country as well as for others, to follow the principle of ‘my country first’ would be the last to impose penalties on India in case we do something that might not fit in with his agenda, either vis-à-vis Iran or Russia. The government seems to be conscious of this advantage that India has.

The principle of national interest can run into conflict with respect to other higher principles especially in democracies. Thus, the Khashoggi affair might eventually result in action in the U.S. Congress which the President then will have no option but to abide by. This is what happened in Congressional action against Russia and which Mr. Trump then had to follow. Vox populi will on occasion trump narrow national interest.

B) Taliban surge: on Kandahar attack

With the Kandahar attack, the militants strike a blow to Afghan election and peace processes

The attack on a high-level meeting inside the Governor’s compound in southern Kandahar on Thursday, killing top security officials, is yet another reminder of the sharply deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. In recent years, the Taliban had shown its capability to infiltrate official meetings and attack any government building, notwithstanding claims by the authorities of heightened security. A year ago, the Kandahar Governor’s office had come under attack by militants, resulting in the death of a Deputy Governor, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates and members of Parliament. Thursday’s assault happened at a meeting that was attended by General Austin ‘Scott’ Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. U.S. troops later said he was unhurt, while Gen. Abdul Raziq, the Kandahar police chief, and Abdul Momin, the Kandahar intelligence chief, were killed. Kandahar Governor Zalmai Wesa was also targeted in the attack, but there were conflicting reports about the status of his health. Raziq was arguably the most powerful police commander in southern Afghanistan. A close ally of the U.S., he had previously survived several attempts on his life and was instrumental in coordinating the local police networks in the fight against the Taliban. His death will leave a security vacuum in the south, especially at a time when the Taliban has launched an all-out offensive.

Significantly, the Kandahar attack happened two days ahead of the much-delayed parliamentary election. From the day the election dates were announced, the Taliban had warned those participating in the process. The security situation is so dire in the country that one-third of the polling stations will not open on Saturday, election day. Over the past couple of months, the Taliban has repeatedly targeted election offices and gatherings, killing at least 10 candidates and dozens of their supporters. The already overstretched Afghan security forces will now have to deal with the fallout of the Kandahar strike. The attack is a setback for the U.S. plan for direct talks with the Taliban as a way out of the 17-year-long conflict. Zalmay Khalilzad, the American special envoy to Afghanistan, recently met Taliban representatives in Qatar. The push for talks comes from a realisation that the war has drifted into a stalemate and an outright military solution could be impossible. And as it finally comes around to the idea of direct talks, the U.S. is trying to turn up pressure on the militant group through Pakistan. But this strategy will work only if the Afghan forces and their allies make some advances on the ground, and bring the Taliban under military pressure. What is actually happening, as incidents such as the Kandahar attack suggest, is the opposite. Both the U.S. and Afghan forces appear to be clueless about how to stop the Taliban’s advances.


1) reaffirmed

Meaning : state again strongly.

Tamil Meaning : மீண்டும் உறுதிப்படுத்து

Synonyms : continue , prolong

Antonyms : destroy

Example : “the prime minister reaffirmed his commitment to the agreement”

2) regimes

Meaning : a government, especially an authoritarian one.

Tamil Meaning : ஆட்சிகள்

Synonyms : establishment , government

Antonyms : disorder

Example : “ideological opponents of the regime”

3) defiance

Meaning : open resistance; bold disobedience.

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்புத் தெரிவித்தல்

Synonyms : contempt , opposition

Antonyms : calm

Example : “an act of defiance”

4) ruthlessness

Meaning : the quality of lacking pity or compassion for others.

Tamil Meaning : இரக்கமற்ற தன்மை

Synonyms : atrocity , brutality

Antonyms : kindness

Example : “the real-world ruthlessness of business”

5) dissident

Meaning : a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state.

Tamil Meaning : கருத்து வேறுபாடு கொண்ட

Synonyms : discordant, dissenting

Antonyms : conforming

Example : “a dissident who had been jailed by a military regime”

6) heretical

Meaning : believing in or practising religious heresy.

Tamil Meaning : பேதம்

Synonyms : agnostic , atheistic

Antonyms : orthodox

Example : “heretical beliefs”

7) unambiguous

Meaning : not open to more than one interpretation.

Tamil Meaning : குழப்பமற்ற

Synonyms : explicit , obvious

Antonyms : indefinite

Example : “instructions should be unambiguous”

8) dissent

Meaning : the holding or expression of opinions at variance with those commonly or officially held.

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்ப்பை

Synonyms : discord , disunity

Antonyms : agreement

Example : “there was no dissent from this view”

9) dire

Meaning : extremely serious or urgent.

Tamil Meaning : கொடிய

Synonyms : acute , critical

Antonyms : calm

Example : “misuse of drugs can have dire consequences”

10) boycott

Meaning : withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.

Tamil Meaning : புறக்கணிப்பு

Synonyms : avoid , spurn

Antonyms : accept

Example : “we will boycott all banks which take part in the loans scheme”

11) outrage

Meaning : an extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation.

Tamil Meaning : கோபத்தை

Synonyms : shock , violence

Antonyms : benefit

Example : “her voice trembled with outrage”

12) conviction

Meaning : a formal declaration by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law that someone is guilty of a criminal offence.

Tamil Meaning : தண்டனை

Synonyms : faith , view

Antonyms : doubt

Example : “she had a previous conviction for a similar offence”

13) ruthlessly

Meaning : without pity or compassion for others.

Tamil Meaning : இரக்கமற்ற

Synonyms : barbarous , callous

Antonyms : calm

Example : “they fell prey to money lenders who ruthlessly exploited them”

14) unabashed

Meaning : not embarrassed, disconcerted, or ashamed.

Tamil Meaning : வெட்கமற்ற

Synonyms : blatant , bold

Antonyms : timid

Example : “he was unabashed by the furore his words provoked”

15) jeopardy

Meaning : danger of loss, harm, or failure.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : peril , hazard

Antonyms : safety

Example : “the whole peace process is in jeopardy

16) stalemate

Meaning : a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check.

Tamil Meaning : இக்கட்டான நிலை

Synonyms : delay , impasse

Antonyms : advance

Example : “last time I played him it ended up in stalemate”

17) inhibited

Meaning : unable to act in a relaxed and natural way because of self-consciousness or mental restraint.

Tamil Meaning : தடுக்கப்படுவதாக

Synonyms : frustrated , guarded

Antonyms : extroverted

Example : “I could never appear nude, I’m far too inhibited”

18) confronting

Meaning : face up to and deal with (a problem or difficulty).

Tamil Meaning : எதிர்கொள்ளும்

Synonyms : accost , defy

Antonyms : dodge

Example : “we knew we couldn’t ignore the race issue and decided we’d confront it head on”

19) radicalising

Meaning : cause (someone) to adopt radical positions on political or social issues.

Tamil Meaning : தீவிர

Synonyms : extremism zealotry

Antonyms : conservatism

Example : “some of those involved had been radicalized by the Vietnam War”

20) disastrous

Meaning : causing great damage.

Tamil Meaning : பேரழிவு

Synonyms : adverse, calamitous

Antonyms : assisting

Example : “a disastrous fire swept through the museum”

21) prosecute

Meaning : institute or conduct legal proceedings against (a person or organization).

Tamil Meaning : சட்டரீதியாக

Synonyms : indict , sue

Antonyms : exonerate

Example : “they were prosecuted for obstructing the highway”

22) insatiable

Meaning : (of a person) having an insatiable appetite or desire for something, especially sex.

Tamil Meaning : திருப்திப்படுத்தப்படாத

Synonyms : insistent , rapacious

Antonyms : fulfilled

Example : “‘You’re insatiable!’ she cried as she pushed him away”

23) ambitious

Meaning : having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.

Tamil Meaning : மூர்க்கமான

Synonyms : aggressive , determined

Antonyms : lethargic

Example : “a ruthlessly ambitious woman”

24) abide

Meaning : accept or act in accordance with (a rule, decision, or recommendation).

Tamil Meaning : என்றென்றும்

Synonyms : accept , tolerate

Antonyms : disallow

Example : “I said I would abide by their decision”

25) assault

Meaning : make a physical attack on.

Tamil Meaning : தாக்குதல்

Synonyms : charge , incursion

Antonyms : retreat

Example : “he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer”

26) ally

Meaning : a state formally cooperating with another for a military or other purpose.

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டாளியான

Synonyms : associate , colleague

Antonyms : detractor

Example : “debate continued among NATO allies”

27) fallout

Meaning : the adverse results of a situation or action.

Tamil Meaning : சண்டையின்

Synonyms : effect , outcome

Antonyms : development

Example : “he’s prepared to take calculated risks regardless of political fallout”

28) envoy

Meaning : a messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission.

Tamil Meaning : தூதுவர்

Synonyms : delegate , diplomat

Antonyms : receiver

Example : “the UN special envoy to Yugoslavia”

29) drifted

Meaning : be carried slowly by a current of air or water.

Tamil Meaning : விலகினர்

Synonyms : amble , float

Antonyms : stay

Example : “the cabin cruiser started to drift downstream”

30) outright

Meaning : immediately or instantly.

Tamil Meaning : அப்பட்டமான

Synonyms : absolute , pure

Antonyms : indefinite

Example : “the impact killed four horses outright”

31) polling

Meaning : record the opinion or vote of.

Tamil Meaning : வாக்கு

Synonyms : count , opinion

Antonyms : reply

Example : “over half of those polled do not believe the prime minister usually tells the truth”

32) conflict

Meaning : be incompatible or at variance; clash.

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonyms : battle , clash

Antonyms : peace

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

33) deteriorate

Meaning : become progressively worse.

Tamil Meaning : மோசமடைந்து

Synonyms : crumble , decline

Antonyms : approve

Example : “relations between the countries had deteriorated sharply”

34) conscious

Meaning : aware of and responding to one’s surroundings.

Tamil Meaning : உணர்வு

Synonyms : certain , aware

Antonyms : dubious

Example : “although I was in pain, I was conscious”

35) apparent

Meaning : clearly visible or understood; obvious.

Tamil Meaning : வெளிப்படையான

Synonyms : possible , probable

Antonyms : unlikely

Example : “for no apparent reason she laughed”

36) campaign

Meaning : a series of military operations intended to achieve a goal, confined to a particular area, or involving a specified type of fighting.

Tamil Meaning : பிரச்சாரம்

Synonyms : crusade , drive

Antonyms : inaction

Example : “a desert campaign”

37) anxiety

Meaning : a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

Tamil Meaning : பதட்டம்

Synonyms : concern , doubt

Antonyms : blessing

Example : “he felt a surge of anxiety”

38) sanctions

Meaning : a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule.

Tamil Meaning : தடைகள்

Synonyms : approval , fiat

Antonyms : denial

Example : “a range of sanctions aimed at deterring insider abuse”

39) proclaim

Meaning : announce officially or publicly.

Tamil Meaning : அறிவிக்க

Synonyms : affirm , announce

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “the government’s chief scientific adviser proclaimed that the epidemic was under control”

40) ghastly

Meaning : causing great horror or fear.

Tamil Meaning : கோரமான

Synonyms : appalling , frightful

Antonyms : beautiful

Example : “one of the most ghastly crimes ever committed”


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