THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 1, 2018 is one of the must read section for the competitive exams like IBPS RRB PO, IBPS RRB Office Assistant 2018, RBI Grade “B” 2018 & NIACL Assistant 2018. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.

A) Submerging markets: on falling rupee value

The increasing demand for the U.S. dollar is shaking currency markets across the globe

Emerging market economies continue to be in the spotlight for the wrong reasons as their currencies resume their prolonged slide against the U.S. dollar. The Indian rupee weakened past the 71 mark for the first time ever on Friday, registering a loss of about 10% of its value against the dollar since the beginning of the year. This makes the rupee the worst-performing currency in Asia. Other emerging market currencies, most notably the Turkish lira, the Argentine peso and the South African rand, have suffered much larger losses owing to a serious loss of confidence among investors. The Argentine peso, which has lost more than half of its value in 2018, for instance, witnessed a sharp loss of more than 10% on Thursday alone. This happened despite a 15 percentage point increase in interest rates by Argentina’s central bank in order to stem the outflow of capital and shore up the value of the currency. The Turkish lira, which has lost almost half its value this year, is another currency in the doldrums. The crises in both Turkey and Argentina have been intensified by domestic economic issues. But the common factor underlying the wider carnage among emerging market currencies is the increasing demand for the dollar across the globe. The tightening of liquidity in the West, with the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates, has played a major role in the strengthening of the dollar since February this year. Investors who earlier put their money in emerging markets have recently preferred American assets, which now yield higher returns.

Such a widespread shift of capital across the globe owing to the variations in interest rates is normal whenever the global interest rate cycle turns. Emerging market countries, which earlier benefited from the easing of monetary conditions in the West, are now feeling the pain of a return to monetary policy normalcy. This does not, however, mean that emerging market economies can simply blame external economic factors for the present turmoil in their currencies and hope for better times. The management of these economies has generally been far from ideal, particularly when it comes to hard-hit economies like Turkey and Argentina. The chief among the troubles of emerging market economies is higher domestic inflation when compared to the economies in the West. It is only natural, then, that their currencies will slide in value over time against the dollar and other major Western currencies. Unless there is a drastic change in emerging market monetary policy vis-à-vis the West, this is likely to be the case for a long time. The mandate of emerging market central banks in the current scenario should be to let their currencies find their true value in a smooth manner.

B) India and the U.S. — it’s complicated

Creative thinking will be needed in the 2+2 dialogue to overcome challenges in bilateral ties

The first round of the India-U.S. 2+2 talks at the level of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their counterparts Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis is scheduled for September 6 in Delhi. It is a significant development but one that appears perfectly logical when seen against the two-decade-old trend line of India-U.S. relations. True, the trend line has not been smooth but the trajectory definitively reflects a growing strategic engagement. From estranged democracies, India and U.S. can worst be described today as prickly partners.

Strategic convergence

Three factors have contributed to the emerging strategic convergence. The end of the Cold War provided an opportunity to both countries to review their relationship in the light of changing global and regional realities. Second, with the opening of the Indian economy, the American private sector began to look at India with greater interest. Trade grew and today stands at more than $120 billion a year with an ambitious target of touching $500 billion in five years. If U.S. foreign direct investment in India is more than $20 billion, Indian companies too have invested $15 billion in the U.S., reflecting a sustained mutual interest. The third factor is the political coming of age of the three-million-strong Indian diaspora. Its influence can be seen in the bipartisan composition of the India Caucus in the U.S. Congress and the Senate Friends of India group.

Yet, the engagement has not been smooth sailing. The U.S. is used to dealing with allies (invariably junior partners in a U.S.-dominated alliance structure) and adversaries. India is neither, and is also determined to safeguard its strategic autonomy. Developing a habit of talking to each other as equal partners has been a learning experience for India and the U.S.

Both countries also consider themselves to be ‘exceptional’, the U.S. as among the oldest democracies and India as the largest! Both have a habit of preaching and problems arise when they preach to each other. Indians become wary of the U.S.’s attempts to drive unequal bargains, and Americans find the Indian approach rigid and sanctimonious. Despite this, significant progress has been registered over the years resulting in the 60-plus bilateral dialogues, to which the 2+2 is now being added.

Growing defence cooperation

Two parallel tracks of dialogue began in the 1990s. The strategic dialogue covering nuclear issues shifted gears following the nuclear tests of 1998 and imposition of sanctions by the U.S. The over a dozen rounds of talks between Jaswant Singh and Strobe Talbott during 1998-2000 marked the most intense dialogue between the two countries. It helped change perceptions leading to the gradual lifting of sanctions. The next phase was the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership steered by the then National Security Advisers, Brajesh Mishra and Condoleezza Rice. The momentum received a new impulse, thanks to the warmth between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush, eventually leading to the conclusion of the India-U.S. bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement in 2008.

The defence dialogue began in 1995 with the setting up of the Defence Policy Group at the level of the Defence Secretary and his Pentagon counterpart and three Steering Groups to develop exchanges between the Services. A decade later, this was formalised and enlarged into the India-U.S. Defence Framework Agreement which was renewed for 10 years in 2015. Today, the U.S. is the country with which India undertakes the largest number of military exercises which have gradually evolved in scale and complexity.

During the Cold War, more than three-fourths of India’s defence equipment was of Soviet origin. This gradually began to change, and in recent years, the U.S. and Israel emerged as major suppliers. The Indian Air Force went in for C-130J Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster aircraft, along with Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy lift helicopters. The Indian Navy acquired a troop carrier ship and the P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. An agreement for 24 multi-role helicopters for the Indian Navy is expected soon. The Indian Army went in for the M-777 howitzers and artillery radars. From a total of less than $400 million of defence acquisitions during 1947-2005, the U.S. has signed defence contracts of over $15 billion since.

During the Obama administration, Defence Secretary Ashton Carter became a strong votary of closer defence cooperation between the two countries. He soon understood that a defence supply relationship needed to be backed by technology sharing and joint development and came up with the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTII). Pathfinder projects have been identified under this banner. To get around export control licensing and other bureaucratic hurdles, an India Rapid Reaction Cell in the Pentagon was set up. In 2016, India was designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ country. Another step forward in the middle of this year was the inclusion of India in the Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) category, putting it on a par with allies in terms of technology access. This should enable the DTII to graduate to more ambitious projects.

Obligations and challenges

Acquiring U.S. high technology comes with its own set of obligations in terms of ensuring its security. These take the form of various undertakings often described as foundational agreements. The first of these was GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement) which India signed in 2002. The other three related to logistics support, communications compatibility and security, and exchanges of geospatial information. The U.S. proposed its standard logistics support agreement text in 2003 which was finally concluded in 2016, after it was made into an India-specific text. It facilitates logistics supplies during port visits and joint exercises and does not contain any obligations for joint activity or any basing arrangements. Realising Indian reservations, the U.S. was more flexible, and now the India-specific Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) is likely to be signed. It makes it possible to install high-end secure communication equipment on U.S. platforms that we have been acquiring. With the possibility of acquiring armed Sea Guardian drones, COMCASA was necessary to ensure optimal use. The lessons learnt should help in expediting negotiations on the third.

Nevertheless, two difficult issues loom large and the 2+2 offers an opportunity for addressing these. The first is the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) enacted last year which enables the U.S. government to sanction countries that engage in ‘significant transactions’ with Russian military and intelligence entities. The proposed purchase of the S-400 missile defence system would attract CAATSA sanctions. A waiver provision has now been introduced to cover India, Indonesia and Vietnam. It requires certification by the U.S. that the country concerned is gradually reducing its dependency on Russian equipment and cooperating with the U.S. on critical security issues. Indian concerns on this need to be addressed.

About Chabahar

The second relates to U.S. sanctions on Iran after its unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Iranian crude imports have grown significantly in recent years and India also stepped up its involvement in developing Chabahar port. The port provides connectivity to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act (2012) contains a waiver provision in case of activities for reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan, which is a U.S. priority too.

Creative thinking will be needed in the 2+2 dialogue to overcome these challenges, which should also ensure that there are no nasty surprises and difficult issues are settled through quiet diplomacy. In order to realise the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (2015), both countries will have to nurture the habit of talking and working together to diminish some of the prickliness in the partnership.


1) owing

Meaning : (of money) yet to be paid.

Tamil Meaning : கொடுபட வேண்டிய

Synonyms : mature , unsettled

Antonyms : resolved

Example : “no rent was owing”

2) doldrums

Meaning : a state or period of stagnation or depression.

Tamil Meaning : உற்சாகம் இழக்க

Synonyms : stupor

Antonyms : concern

Example : “the mortgage market has been in the doldrums for three years”

3) Strategic

Meaning : relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

Tamil Meaning : மூலோபாய

Synonyms : important , critical

Antonyms : Nonessential , trivial

Example : “strategic planning for the organization is the responsibility of top management”

4) intensified

Meaning : become or make more intense.

Tamil Meaning : தீவிரப்படுத்தும்

Synonyms : deepen , escalate

Antonyms : diminish

Example : “the dispute began to intensify”

5) carnage

Meaning : the killing of a large number of people.

Tamil Meaning : படுகொலை

Synonyms : havoc , crime

Antonyms : peace

Example : “the bombing was timed to cause as much carnage as possible”

6) widespread

Meaning : found or distributed over a large area or number of people.

Tamil Meaning : பரவலாக

Synonyms : broad , epidemic

Antonyms : concentrated

Example : “there was widespread support for the war”

7) turmoil

Meaning : a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty.

Tamil Meaning : கொந்தளிப்பு

Synonyms : anxiety , disturbance

Antonyms : calmness

Example : “the country was in turmoil

8) drastic

Meaning : likely to have a strong or far-reaching effect; radical and extreme.

Tamil Meaning : கடுமையான

Synonyms : forceful , dire

Antonyms : nice

Example : “a drastic reduction of staffing levels”

9) mandate

Meaning : an official order or commission to do something.

Tamil Meaning : ஆணை

Synonyms : injunction , directive

Antonyms : break

Example : “a mandate to seek the release of political prisoners”

10) scenario

Meaning : a written outline of a film, novel, or stage work giving details of the plot and individual scenes.

Tamil Meaning : சூழ்நிலையில்

Synonyms : scheme , plot

Antonyms : result

Example : “the scenarios for four short stories”

11) trajectory

Meaning : the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces.

Tamil Meaning : பயணப்பாதை

Synonyms : curve orbit

Example : “the missile’s trajectory was preset”

12) estranged

Meaning : (of a person) no longer close or affectionate to someone; alienated.

Tamil Meaning : பிரிந்து

Synonyms : alienate

Antonyms : agree

Example : “Harriet felt more estranged from her daughter than ever”

13) prickly

Meaning : (of a person) ready to take offence.

Tamil Meaning : முட்கள் நிறைந்த

Synonyms : nettlesome

Antonyms : simple

Example : “she came across as prickly and generally difficult”

14) diaspora.

Meaning : the dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland.

Tamil Meaning : புலம்பெயர்

Synonyms : exodus

Antonyms : concentration

Example : the diaspora of boat people from Asia”

15) bipartisan

Meaning : of or involving the agreement or cooperation of two political parties that usually oppose each other’s policies.

Tamil Meaning : இருகட்சி

Synonyms : amphibian , binary

Antonyms : partial

Example : “the reforms received considerable bipartisan approval”

16) Senate

Meaning : the smaller upper assembly in the US, US states, France, and other countries.

Synonyms : house, body

Antonyms : separation.

Example : “the senate must ratify any treaty with a two-thirds majority”

17) Caucus

Meaning : a conference of members of a legislative body who belong to a particular party or faction.

Tamil Meaning : உட்குழு

Synonyms : convention , gathering

Antonyms : evasion

Example : “Mr Kerry attended the morning caucus in the Old Senate Chamber where his fellow Democrats

18) alliance

Meaning : a union or association formed for mutual benefit, especially between countries or organizations.

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டணி

Synonyms : accord , betrothal

Antonyms : discord

Example : “a defensive alliance between Australia and New Zealand”

19) preaching

Meaning : deliver a sermon or religious address to an assembled group of people, typically in church.

Tamil Meaning : உபதேசம்

Synonyms : sermon

Antonyms : hail

Example : “he preached to a large congregation”

20) sanctimonious.

Meaning : making a show of being morally superior to other people.

Tamil Meaning : புனித தன்மை.

Synonyms : hypocritical

Antonyms : forthright

Example : “what happened to all the sanctimonious talk about putting his family first?”

21) wary

Meaning : feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems.

Tamil Meaning : எச்சரிக்கையாக

Synonyms : attentive

Antonyms : careless

Example : “dogs which have been mistreated often remain very wary of strangers”

22) gears

Meaning : equipment or apparatus that is used for a particular purpose.

Synonyms : attentive , leery

Antonyms : careless

Example : “camping gear”

23) steered

Meaning : guide or control the movement of (a vehicle, vessel, or aircraft), for example by turning a wheel or operating a rudder.

Tamil Meaning : விலகி

Synonyms : herd , escort

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “he steered the boat slowly towards the busy quay”

24) impulse

Meaning : a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act.

Tamil Meaning : உந்துவிசை

Synonyms : desire , feeling

Antonyms : concrete

Example : “I had an almost irresistible impulse to giggle”

25) counterpart

Meaning :a person or thing that corresponds to or has the same function as another person or thing in a different place or situation.

Synonyms : copy , analogue

Antonyms : original

Example : “the minister held talks with his French counterpart”

26) Soviet

Meaning : of or concerning the former Soviet Union.

Tamil Meaning : சட்டசபை

Synonyms : assembly

Example : “the Soviet leader”

27) reconnaissance

Meaning : military observation of a region to locate an enemy or ascertain strategic features.

Tamil Meaning : உளவு

Synonyms : exploration , surveillance

Antonyms : inability

Example : “an excellent aircraft for low-level reconnaissance”

28) perceptions

Meaning : the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

Tamil Meaning : உணர்வுகள்

Synonyms : approach

Antonyms : concrete

Example : “the normal limits to human perception”

29) bureaucratic

Meaning : relating to a system of government in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives.

Tamil Meaning : அதிகாரத்துவ

Synonyms : civic

Antonyms : unestablished

Example : “well-established bureaucratic procedures”

30) waiver

Meaning : an act or instance of waiving a right or claim.

Tamil Meaning : விலக்கு

Synonyms : postponement

Antonyms : approval

Example : “their acquiescence could amount to a waiver”

31) diplomacy

Meaning : the profession, activity, or skill of managing international relations, typically by a country’s representatives abroad.

Tamil Meaning : இராஜதந்திரம்

Synonyms : negotiation

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “an extensive round of diplomacy in the Middle East”

32) prick

Meaning : make a small hole in (something) with a sharp point; pierce slightly.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonyms : gash , cut

Antonyms : discourage

Example : “prick the potatoes all over with a fork”

33) diminish

Meaning : make or become less.

Tamil Meaning : நலிவடையும்

Synonyms : abate , decrease

Antonyms : enlarge

Example : “the new law is expected to diminish the government’s chances”

34) unilateral

Meaning : (of an action or decision) performed by or affecting only one person, group, or country involved in a situation

Tamil Meaning : ஒருதலை

Synonyms : independent

Antonyms : bilateral

Example : “unilateral nuclear disarmament”

35) Adversaries

Meaning : one’s opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute.

Tamil Meaning : எதிரிகள்

Synonyms : attacker , competitor

Antonyms : ally

Example : “Davis beat his old adversary in the quarter-finals”

36) Nevertheless

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

Tamil Meaning : இருப்பினும்

Synonyms : though , yet

Antonyms : stormy

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

37) expediting

Meaning : make (an action or process) happen sooner or be accomplished more quickly.

Tamil Meaning : துரிதப்படுத்துவது

Synonyms : hasten , promote

Antonyms : slow

Example : “he promised to expedite economic reforms”

38) obligations

Meaning : an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.

Tamil Meaning : கடமைகள்

Synonyms : agreement , burden

Antonyms : asset

Example : “I have an obligation to look after her”

39) logistics

Meaning : the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation.

Tamil Meaning : தளவாடங்கள்

Synonyms : coordination

Antonyms : kern

Example : “the logistics of a large-scale rock show demand certain necessities”

40) ambitious

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

Tamil Meaning : மூர்க்கமான

Synonyms : aggressive

Antonyms : lethargic

Example : “a ruthlessly ambitious woman”


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