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THE HINDU EDITORIAL – October 24, 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) Trouble at the top: on CBI power play

THE HINDU EDITORIAL : OCTOBER 24, 2018Firm intervention is needed to end the unsavoury controversy in the CBI

At one level, what is going on in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is a ‘turf war’, a battle of egos between two individuals at the helm. But the unsavoury developments involving the CBI Director and its Special Director are reflective of a much deeper malaise — a big rot at the very heart of the premier investigating agency. That the CBI registered a First Information Report against its own Special Director is extraordinary. The most troubling aspect of the ongoing crisis involving Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana is that only one of them will be proved right; either way, it is the agency that will be shown in a poor light. If the Director is justified in embarking on a high-profile probe into bribery charges against Mr. Asthana, it can only mean that corruption is so pervasive that even the second-in-command in the agency is not beyond demanding ₹3 crore to let someone off the hook. On the other hand, if Mr. Asthana is shown to be wrongly implicated, and his own charges — set out in a complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission — that other CBI officers are interfering in ongoing probes are proved right, the situation will be no better. It cannot be forgotten that this controversy was preceded only recently with two Directors of the CBI coming under a cloud. The Supreme Court held that the charges that Ranjit Sinha, when heading the agency, sought to help the accused in several cases and interfered in ongoing probes were ‘prima facie credible’; as a result, he was asked to keep away from the 2G telecom cases. Similarly, A.P. Singh, another director, was booked last year for alleged links with meat exporter Moin Qureshi. Clearly, the existing procedure for the appointment of CBI Directors, which is made by a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition, has not stripped the office of controversy.

And now as well, it is the Qureshi case that continues to haunt the agency. Its investigating officer, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, has been arrested on the charge of fabricating a statement by a Hyderabad-based businessman “to corroborate baseless charges” made by Mr. Asthana against Mr. Verma in a complaint to the CVC. The CBI labours under a dual image: an independent agency in the perception of those disillusioned with the conduct of the jurisdiction police, and a ‘caged parrot’ or a handmaiden of the ruling party at the Centre in the eyes of the national Opposition. Recent developments, in which Central agencies are seen as targeting those in Opposition parties, add to the latter perception and do not augur well for its credibility. To a large extent, the political leadership must bear the primary responsibility for such controversies. It is difficult to ignore the fact that Mr. Asthana’s appointment as Special Director was made despite Mr. Verma’s vehement objections about his suitability, something the CVC chose to overrule. In such circumstances, it is up to the CVC and the Centre to address the present crisis. A good place to start will be to take Mr. Asthana, whose name already figures in a case, temporarily out of the agency to ensure an impartial probe.

B) Outcomes versus promises


While Russia is seeking to cement its relationship with India, the U.S. wants India to make strategic choices

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s whirlwind visit to Delhi earlier this month, lasting less than 24 hours, came just a month after the visits, in September, of U.S. Secretary of State Mike R. Pompeo and Defence Secretary James N. Mattis to participate in the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue with their Indian counterparts, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman.

Summit, dialogue

The summit between the Indian Prime Minister and the Russian President is now an annual event, the protocol having been agreed upon by Mr. Putin and Manmohan Singh in 2005. Summits have often led to spectacular breakthroughs — in the 2009 meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and Mr. Singh the log-jam in the long pending sale to India of the Russian aircraft carrier, Gorshkov (since renamed Vikramaditya) could be resolved and, in the latest instance, the inking of the $5.4 billion S-400 Triumf missile defence system. The recent 2+2 Dialogue between India and the U.S., on the other hand, is a new concept, and while it has been hailed as a path-breaking event paving the way for an avalanche of state-of-the art defence equipment from the U.S., the outcomes from this initial meet were clearly dwarfed by what took place during Mr. Putin’s visit.

The 2+2 Dialogue — a format the U.S. employs with some of its closest allies including Japan and Australia — has given the impression that India has come within the U.S. orbit of influence, detaching itself further from Russia. This impression is further heightened by India signing on to the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) recently. Lost in translation, however, is that India still fancies a close relationship with Russia, one of its and most dependable allies.

A comparison of the Putin-Modi summit outcome with the promises made during the 2+2 Dialogue can hardly be a true index of what lies in the future. It may, nevertheless, be worth undertaking. The summit’s mega missile defence deal clearly took the shine off any promises made at the 2+2 Dialogue regarding future defence acquisitions from the U.S. Russia’s S-400 Triumf, possibly the best missile defence system in the world, comes with no strings attached. There is no Russian equivalent of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in place. The S-400 Triumf can be deployed against all enemies, irrespective of any other defence choices that India might have.

Russian steadfastness

There were several other concrete outcomes from the Putin-Modi summit. India and Russia signed on to a document to expand civil nuclear energy cooperation and agreed on a second site for Russian nuclear reactors. They signed a memorandum of understanding on a joint programme in the field of human space-flight, enabling Indian astronauts to be trained in Russia. They also agreed on the virtues of a regional security architecture to provide security to all countries in Asia and in the regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This seemed to demonstrate a clear ‘mutuality of interests’.

The 2+2 Dialogue, for its part, marks a paradigmatic change in the nature of India-U.S. relations. It hence needs to be viewed, more appropriately, as the culmination of a long-standing attempt by the U.S. to woo India, something that has been in the works for some time. As a prelude to this, the U.S. had renamed the Asia-Pacific as the Indo-Pacific. It had blocked more than $1.5 billion in U.S. security aid to Pakistan, allotting a mere $150 million in 2019. U.S.-India economic cooperation was stated to have grown exponentially within two decades, with the total goods and services trade between India and U.S. increasing from $11.2 billion in 1995 to $126.2 billion in 2017. U.S. foreign direct investment into India substantially increased during this period. The most important bait was India being accorded the status of a ‘major defence partner’.

The underlying theme of the 2+2 Dialogue, notwithstanding all this, seems however, aimed at forging a possible containment of China strategy, with India partnering the U.S. in this effort. The U.S., at present, perceives China as posing a major challenge to its supremacy, and ‘the most significant threat to U.S. interest from a counter-intelligence perspective’. Whether China was specifically discussed or not in the course of the 2+2 Dialogue, it was obviously the 400-pound gorilla in the room.

The U.S. has obviously been preparing for this for some time, unleashing a spate of allegations against China. These include an implicit reference to the threat China posed to other nations in the region, including India, given that China had the second largest defence budget in the world, the largest standing army, the third largest air force, and was rapidly expanding its navy. Specific mention was also made by the U.S. to the Chinese navy’s ‘anti-access’ capabilities and its ‘area denial tactics’, possibly intended to warn countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) like India of the growing menace posed by the Chinese navy.

Differences in the outcomes of the Putin-Modi summit and the promises made in 2+2 dialogue are thus quite apparent. Russia was essentially seeking to cement a relationship with India that has existed for several years. It was not insisting on any exclusivity as far as relationships go. The U.S. wanted India to view foreign policy perspectives largely through a U.S. prism, and thereafter make a choice. For India to steer between this Scylla of Russia and the Charybdis of the U.S., however, is not going to be easy. Russia has already given a hint that it has the option of other choices, which might not exclude Pakistan. The U.S., meanwhile, tends to behave like a ‘jealous mistress’ and is insistent on India making the right choice.

The situation is greatly complicated by the fact that the world today faces a post-Cold War situation. The rise of China’s economic power and its growing military might, and the re-emergence of Russia are significant pointers to this situation. The U.S., hence, no longer holds all the cards. Additionally, many existing precepts are undergoing changes. For example, the threat to the rules-based international order today comes as much from within existing democracies.

At such a time, the 2+2 Dialogue and the Putin visit within a few weeks of each have has left India with more questions than answers on what options to follow. India can hardly alienate Russia as it re-emerges as a key presence in Asia and Eurasia. Appearing to reject U.S. overtures, while the latter is seen making every effort to provide India with state-of-the art defence equipment, and acting in tandem with it in groupings such as the Quadrilateral, could prove short-sighted. Mature strategic judgment is called for in these circumstances.

Undoubtedly, India and China have differences on several issues, including problems at several points along the border between the two countries. Many points of divergence with regard to the current world situation also exist. There is also a subliminal struggle between them for the leadership of Asia. Nevertheless, neither India nor China appears ready for an open conflict as it would cost both countries dearly. India is also not unaware of a U.S. lack of resolve to actively resist China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea, and in preventing China from expanding its naval activities in the IOR. The abortive U.S. “pivot to Asia” is a stark reminder of the limitation of U.S. capabilities today.

Go by cold logic

India needs to ponder deeply on what is in its best interests. It should not allow itself to be easily persuaded in the belief that democracies, by and large, offer better choices. It should not reject, without due consideration, what is in its best interest. Its decision needs to be dictated by the cold logic of circumstances. Strategic ambivalence is not an answer to the situation that India faces today. Strategic integrity and autonomy, and mature strategic judgment are required in a world where disruption is the order of the day.


1) egos

Meaning : a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : pridefulness, egotism

Antonyms : humility

Example : “he needed a boost to his ego”

2) helm

Meaning : a tiller or wheel for steering a ship or boat.

Tamil Meaning : தலைமையில்

Synonyms : wheel , tug

Antonyms : refrain

Example : “she stayed at the helm, alert for tankers”

3) unsavoury

Meaning : disagreeable to taste, smell, or look at.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : சுவையற்ற

Synonyms : unsavory , odoriferous

Antonyms : savory

Example : “they looked at the scanty, unsavoury portions of food doled out to them”(adj)

4) malaise

Meaning : a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or unease whose exact cause is difficult to identify.(n)

Tamil Meaning : உடல்சோர்வு

Synonyms : discomfort , uncomfortableness

Antonyms : comfort

Example : “a general air of malaise”(n)

5) rot

Meaning : (chiefly of animal or vegetable matter) decay or cause to decay by the action of bacteria and fungi; decompose.(v) , the process of decaying.(n)

Tamil Meaning : அழுகல்

Synonyms : decompose

Antonyms : ascend

Example : “the chalets were neglected and their woodwork was rotting away(v), “the leaves were turning black with rot”(n)

6) embarking

Meaning : go on board a ship or aircraft.(v)

Tamil Meaning : மேற்கொள்ளவேண்டும்

Synonyms : begin

Antonyms : end

Example : “he embarked for India in 1817″(v)

7) bribery

Meaning : the giving or offering of a bribe.(n)

Tamil Meaning : லஞ்சம்

Synonyms : felony

Antonyms : stand still

Example : “his opponent had been guilty of bribery and corruption”(n)

8) pervasive

Meaning : (especially of an unwelcome influence or physical effect) spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : பரவலாக

Synonyms : distributive , permeant

Antonyms : collective

Example : “ageism is pervasive and entrenched in our society”(adj)

9) implicated

Meaning : show (someone) to be involved in a crime.(v)

Tamil Meaning : ஈடுபடுவதாக

Synonyms : involved

Antonyms : uninvolved

Example : “he implicated his government in the murders of three judges”(v)

10) probes

Meaning : a thorough investigation into a crime or other matter.(n)

Tamil Meaning : ஆய்வுகளை

Synonyms : enquire

Antonyms : abstain

Example : “a probe into city hall corruption”(n)

11) sought

Meaning : attempt to find (something).(v)

Tamil Meaning : முயன்று

Synonyms : wanted

Antonyms : unwanted

Example : “they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds”(v)

12) accused

Meaning : a person or group of people who are charged with or on trial for a crime.(n)

Tamil Meaning : குற்றஞ்சாட்டினார்

Synonyms : defendant

Antonyms : believe

Example : “the accused was ordered to stand trial on a number of charges”(n)

13) stripped

Meaning : remove all coverings from.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பறிக்கப்பட்டது

Synonyms : unclothed

Antonyms : ample

Example : “they stripped the bed”(v)

14) corroborate

Meaning : confirm or give support to (a statement, theory, or finding).

Tamil Meaning : உறுதிபடுத்த

Synonyms : prove

Antonyms : negate

Example : “the witness had corroborated the boy’s account of the attack”

15) disillusioned

Meaning : disappointed in someone or something that one discovers to be less good than one had believed.

Tamil Meaning : மயக்கத்தில்

Synonyms : disenchanted

Antonyms : naive

Example : “the minority groups were completely disillusioned with the party”

16) caged

Meaning : confine in a cage.(v)

Tamil Meaning : கூண்டிலடைக்கப்பட்ட

Synonyms : enclosure

Antonyms : accelerate

Example : “the parrot screamed, furious at being caged”(v)

17) augur

Meaning : (of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome.(v)

Tamil Meaning : முன்கூட்டி அறிவி

Synonyms : omen , threaten

Antonyms : contraindicate

Example : “the end of the cold war seemed to augur well”(v)

18) vehement

Meaning : showing strong feeling; forceful, passionate, or intense.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : தீவிரமான

Synonyms : intense , violent

Antonyms : mild

Example : “her voice was low but vehement”(adj)

19) whirlwind

Meaning : used with reference to a very energetic person or a tumultuous process.(n)

Tamil Meaning : சுழல்காற்று

Synonyms : hurricane

Example : “a whirlwind of activity”(n)

20) paving

Meaning : a surface made up of flat stones laid in a pattern.(n)

Tamil Meaning : வகுத்து

Synonyms : curbside

Antonyms : artifact

Example : “weeds had forced their way up through the cracked paving”(n)

21) avalanche

Meaning : a mass of snow, ice, and rocks falling rapidly down a mountainside.(n)

Tamil Meaning : பனிச்சரிவு

Synonyms : fall

Antonyms : increase

Example : “he was swept to his death by an avalanche in 1988”(n)

22) hailed

Meaning : (of a large number of objects) fall or be hurled forcefully.(v)

Tamil Meaning : பாராட்டினார்

Synonyms : herald

Antonyms : dishonor

Example : “missiles and bombs hail down from the sky”(v)

23) dwarfed

Meaning : cause to seem small or insignificant in comparison.

Synonyms : dominate

Antonyms : unavailability

Example : “the buildings surround and dwarf All Saints church”

24) detaching

Meaning : disengage (something or part of something) and remove it.(v)

Tamil Meaning : கழற்றி

Synonyms : unbind

Antonyms : arrive

Example : “he detached the front lamp from its bracket”(v)

25) nevertheless

Meaning : in spite of that; notwithstanding; all the same.(adv)

Tamil Meaning : இருப்பினும்

Synonyms : nonetheless

Antonyms : agitate

Example : “statements which, although literally true, are nevertheless misleading”(adv)

26) acquisitions

Meaning : an asset or object bought or obtained, typically by a library or museum.(n)

Tamil Meaning : கையகப்படுத்துதல்

Synonyms : procural , taking over

Antonyms : rejection

Example : “the legacy will be used for new acquisitions”(n)

27) deployed

Meaning : move (troops or equipment) into position for military action.(v)

Tamil Meaning : நிறுத்தி

Synonyms : position

Antonyms : take

Example : “forces were deployed at strategic locations”(v)

28) virtues

Meaning : behaviour showing high moral standards.

Tamil Meaning : நல்லொழுக்கங்கள்

Synonyms : virtuousness

Antonyms : evil

Example : “paragons of virtue”

29) culmination

Meaning : the highest or climactic point of something, especially as attained after a long time.

Tamil Meaning : உச்சநிலையாக

Synonyms : phase , stage

Antonyms : activation

Example : “the deal marked the culmination of years of negotiation”

30) prelude

Meaning : an action or event serving as an introduction to something more important.(n)

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோடியாக

Synonyms : origin

Antonyms : tightness

Example : “a ceasefire had been agreed as a prelude to full peace negotiations”(n)

31) substantially

Meaning : to a great or significant extent.(adv)

Tamil Meaning : கணிசமான

Synonyms : considerable

Antonyms : unreal

Example : “profits grew substantially”(adv)

32) bait

Meaning : deliberately annoy or taunt (someone).(v),food placed on a hook or in a net, trap, or fishing area to entice fish or other animals as prey.(n)

Synonyms : barrack jeer

Antonyms : please

Example :”the other boys revelled in baiting him about his love of literature”(v),“herrings make excellent bait for pike”(n)

33) forging

Meaning : make or shape (a metal object) by heating it in a fire or furnace and hammering it.(v)

Tamil Meaning : போலியாக்குவது

Synonyms : beat , dropforge

Antonyms : stay

Example : “he forged a great suit of black armour”(v)

34) perceives

Meaning : become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.(v)

Tamil Meaning : கருதுகிறதோ

Synonyms : spy , dream

Antonyms : esteem

Example : “his mouth fell open as he perceived the truth”(v)

35) supremacy

Meaning : the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status.

Tamil Meaning : மேலாதிக்கத்தை

Synonyms : superiority, mastery

Antonyms : inactivity

Example : “the supremacy of the king”

36) unleashing

Meaning : release (a dog) from a leash.(v)

Tamil Meaning : கட்டவிழ்த்துவிட

Synonyms : release

Antonyms : requisition

Example : “they dig up badger setts and unleash terriers into them”(v)

37) spate

Meaning : a large number of similar things coming in quick succession.(n)

Tamil Meaning : பிரவாகம்

Synonyms : rush

Antonyms : disorganise

Example : “a spate of attacks on holidaymakers”(n)

38) implicit

Meaning : suggested though not directly expressed.(adj)

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளார்ந்த

Synonyms : unvoiced , inexplicit

Antonyms : overt

Example : “comments seen as implicit criticism of the policies”(adj)

39) menace

Meaning : a person or thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger.(n)

Tamil Meaning : அச்சுறுத்தல்

Synonyms : danger

Antonyms : disappear

Example : “a new initiative aimed at beating the menace of drugs”(n)

40) perspectives

Meaning : the art of representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other.(n)

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோக்கு

Synonyms : orientation

Antonyms : bright

Example : “the theory and practice of perspective”(n)


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