THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 10, 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) Too close for comfort? On the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting

Dialogue with the U.S. should not define India’s strategic future or its other bilateral relationships

The India-U.S. 2+2 meeting on September 6 between the Defence and Foreign Ministers of the two countries appeared to be a singularly one-sided affair. Washington was calling the shots, and New Delhi was trying to wriggle out of U.S. pressure without much success. The inaugural round of the 2+2 Dialogue is therefore ‘advantage U.S.’ While carefully analysing the outcomes of the talks and the future direction of India-U.S. relations, it is difficult to get overjoyed by heart-warming American phrases like “India is a consequential emerging partner” or Washington naming and shaming Pakistan. Let’s look at the bigger, more nuanced and consequential picture.

Buy American

Behind the carefully-constructed narrative of strategic rationales and geopolitical calculations underpinning India-U.S. relations, the American team came to New Delhi with an unambiguous sales pitch. Not that there wasn’t any strategic rationale to the high-level meeting, but the underlying American sales pitch was remarkable. Consider the U.S.’s insistence that India should bring down its oil imports from Iran to ‘zero’ in deference to the restrictions imposed by its unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. also recommends that India buy American oil to make up the deficit. As a matter of fact, U.S. oil exports to India have more than doubled in the past year, thanks to the U.S. sanction fears, thereby helping a booming domestic crude oil industry. Notably, at the 2+2 meeting, the Indian side did not manage to get a waiver for importing Iranian crude

Second, Washington seeks to impose the punitive provisions of a U.S. federal law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on countries dealing with Russian defence and intelligence sectors, making it difficult for India to buy the much-needed S-400 missile system. For a country with close to 60% of its weapons systems originating from Russia, this would be a huge setback. Again, it’s clear the U.S. would like India to buy its weapons instead. There is still no clarity on whether India’s request for a “one-time waiver” was granted by the U.S. to buy Russian weapons at the 2+2 meeting; the joint statement is silent on this. If such a waiver was indeed not granted, it must be considered a major set-back.

In the run-up to the 2+2 meeting, the U.S. also put considerable pressure on India to reduce the bilateral trade deficit, which is in India’s favour, by buying more American goods.

Key security agreement

During the 2+2 meeting, the two countries also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, or COMCASA. The agreement is one of three considered to be “foundational” for a viable India-U.S. military relationship. In 2016, India and the U.S. had signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), allowing their militaries to replenish from the other’s bases. The third, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA), is yet to be negotiated. It is necessary to take stock of the national security implications of these agreements.

The argument in favour of signing COMCASA is that it “will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilise its existing U.S.-origin platforms”. India’s U.S.-sourced P-8I and C-130J aircraft had to use low-tech communication equipment as the U.S. could not provide India with such technologies due to domestic legal restrictions, unless India signed COMCASA. Moreover, in the absence of COMCASA, and the attendant high-tech equipment, the interoperability between Indian and U.S. forces would be severely hampered.

While there is some merit in this argument, given that the India-specific COMCASA is not a public document, we do not know the scope of the agreement. Therefore, the government needs to clarify several concerns. For one, there is the issue of visits by U.S. inspectors to Indian bases to carry out inspections on the COMCASA-safeguarded equipment sold to India.

Since we do not know how intrusive this inspection would be, it is useful to look at the language from a similar agreement signed between the U.S. and South Korea in 2008: “DoD [U.S. Department of Defence]-provided COMSEC [Communications Security] equipment and materials, including keying materials, will be installed and maintained only by authorized US personnel… For purposes of performing required maintenance and periodic inspections, authorized and duly identified US personnel will be permitted timely access to DoD-provided COMSEC equipment and material. DoD will, in cases when time and circumstances permit, notify MND [Republic of Korea’s Ministry for Defence] in advance in those instances when access by authorized US personnel is considered necessary.” (Emphasis added.)

No doubt, South Korea is a U.S. military ally, which India is not. So one hopes that the provisions of inspections would be less intrusive. But there is no getting away from the fact that COMCASA will apply end-use monitoring and reconfiguration restrictions on India as well. In any case, by signing COMCASA and by agreeing to reduce the purchase of Russian weapon systems (in line with CAATSA), India has implicitly accepted the extraterritorial application of U.S. law on itself. While it is true that the original End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) was agreed to between India and the U.S., in 2009, New Delhi has now taken the application of U.S. federal law on India to a completely new level. EUMA had reportedly ensured that U.S. inspectors would stay away from Indian bases: is that ensured under COMCASA as well? Moreover, did India push for a U.S. presidential waiver for receiving COMSEC equipment and materials without having to sign COMCASA?

There is also a related concern whether the installation of U.S. communication systems would compromise the secrecy of Indian military communication systems. Most importantly, it might also be useful to debate the utility of such India-U.S. agreements since, at the end of the day, the two countries are not likely to be deployed alongside each other in a conflict situation. The argument here is not that India should not make use of American assistance in strengthening its national security, but there should be more clarity on what it entails

Balancing China

Even though the “Joint Statement on the Inaugural India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue” did not explicitly mention China, the section on the Indo-Pacific region implicitly referred to it. There is no denying the fact that the “China threat” is one of the major talking points between Washington and New Delhi today. While China is indeed a challenge, there is only so much India-U.S. cooperation can do to address that challenge for India. India is an Asian country, with several Southern Asian security challenges, and its ability to meet those challenges with the help of an offshore (and declining) superpower is at best limited, and counter-productive at worst.

The India-U.S. relationship shouldn’t be allowed to define India’s geopolitical character, strategic future or the limits of its other bilateral relationships. In a world that is far more chaotic than ever since Independence, India must keep its options open and be multi-aligned, even as the U.S. forms a key part in that scheme of things.

B) Cloudy forecast: on climate change

Developed countries, especially the U.S., need to commit funds to limit climate change

The conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bangkok last week, that was to draft a rulebook for the Paris Agreement ahead of a crucial international conference in Poland in December, ran into predictable difficulties over the issue of raising funds to help poorer nations. Some developed countries led by the U.S. — which, under the Trump administration, has rejected the agreement — are unwilling to commit to sound rules on raising climate finance. Under the pact concluded in Paris, rich countries pledged to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aid populations to cope with extreme events such as floods, droughts and storms. Obstructing the transition to a carbon-neutral pathway and preserving the status quo is short-sighted, simply because the losses caused by weather events are proving severely detrimental to all economies. By trying to stall climate justice to millions of poor people in vulnerable countries, the developed nations are refusing to accept their responsibility for historical emissions of GHGs. Those emissions raised living standards for their citizens but contributed heavily to the accumulated carbon dioxide burden, now measured at about 410 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, up from 280 ppm before the industrial revolution.

There is international pressure on China and India to cut GHG emissions. Both countries have committed themselves to a cleaner growth path. India, which reported an annual CO2 equivalent emissions of 2.136 billion tonnes in 2010 to the UNFCCC two years ago, estimates that the GHG emissions intensity of its GDP has declined by 12% for the 2005-2010 period. As members committed to the Paris Agreement, China and India have the responsibility of climate leadership in the developing world, and have to green their growth. What developing countries need is a supportive framework in the form of a rulebook that binds the developed countries to their funding pledges, provides support for capacity building and transfer of green technologies on liberal terms. If scientific estimates are correct, the damage already done to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is set to raise sea levels; a 2° Celsius rise will also destabilise the Greenland Ice Sheet. Failed agriculture in populous countries will drive more mass migrations of people, creating conflict. A deeper insight on all this will be available in October when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its scientific report on the impact of a 1.5° C rise in global average temperature. This is the time for the world’s leaders to demonstrate that they are ready to go beyond expediency and take the actions needed to avert long-term catastrophe.


1) wriggle

Meaning : twist and turn with quick writhing movements.

Tamil Meaning : நெளிவு

Synonym : sneak , crawl

Example : “she kicked and wriggled but he held her firmly”

2) avert

Meaning : turn away (one’s eyes or thoughts).

Tamil Meaning : தவிர்க்க

Synonym : deter

Antonyms : allow

Example : “she averted her eyes while we made stilted conversation”

3) unambiguous

Meaning : not open to more than one interpretation.

Tamil Meaning : குழப்பமற்ற

Synonym : explicit

Antonyms : indefinite

Example : “instructions should be unambiguous”

4) booming

Meaning : having a period of great prosperity or rapid economic growth.

Tamil Meaning : பூரிப்பு

Synonym : growing

Antonyms : failing

Example : “the booming economy of the 1920s”

5) waiver

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

Tamil Meaning : விலக்கு

Synonym : remission

Antonyms : approval

Example : “their acquiescence could amount to a waiver”

6) rationale

Meaning : a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or belief.

Tamil Meaning : காரணம்

Synonym : hypothesis

Antonyms : proof

Example : “he explained the rationale behind the change”

7) punitive

Meaning : inflicting or intended as punishment.

Tamil Meaning : தண்டனை

Synonym : penal

Antonyms : beneficial

Example : “he called for punitive measures against the Eastern bloc”

8) indeed

Meaning : used to emphasize a statement or response confirming something already suggested.

Tamil Meaning : உண்மை

Synonym : easily

Antonyms : doubtfully

Example : “it was not expected to last long, and indeed it took less than three weeks”

9) replenish

Meaning : fill (something) up again.

Tamil Meaning : நிரப்பவும்

Synonym : refill

Antonyms : damage

Example : “he replenished Justin’s glass with mineral water”

10) negotiated

Meaning : obtain or bring about by discussion.

Tamil Meaning : பேச்சுவார்த்தை

Synonym : agree

Antonyms : confuse

Example : “he negotiated a new contract with the sellers”

11) implications

Meaning : the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Tamil Meaning : தாக்கங்கள்

Synonym : connotation

Antonyms : reality

Example : “the implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible”

12) hamper

Meaning : a basket with a carrying handle and a hinged lid, used for food, cutlery, and plates on a picnic.

Tamil Meaning : இடையூறு

Synonym : carton

Antonyms : Assist

Example : “a picnic hamper”

13) interoperability

Meaning : the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.

Tamil Meaning : இயங்குதன்மை

Synonym : Compatibility

Example : “interoperability between devices made by different manufacturers”

14) intrusive

Meaning : causing disruption or annoyance through being unwelcome or uninvited.

Tamil Meaning : ஊடுருவும்

Synonym : invasive

Antonyms : bulgy

Example : “that was an intrusive question”

15) estimates

Meaning : an approximate calculation or judgement of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something.

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீடுகள்

Synonym : appraisal

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “at a rough estimate, staff are recycling a quarter of paper used”

16) implicitly

Meaning : in a way that is not directly expressed; tacitly.

Tamil Meaning : மறைமுகமாக

Synonym : constant

Antonyms : disloyal

Example : “she implicitly suggested that he was responsible for the error”

17) extraterritorial

Meaning : denoting the freedom of embassy staff from the jurisdiction of the territory of residence.

Tamil Meaning : உள்ளாட்சிக்கு அப்பாற்பட்ட

Synonym : external

Antonyms : central

Example : “foreign embassies have extraterritorial rights

18) secrecy

Meaning : the action of keeping something secret or the state of being kept secret.

Tamil Meaning : ரகசியமாக

Synonym : isolation

Antonyms : brightness

Example : “the bidding is conducted in secrecy

19) deploy

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

Tamil Meaning : வரிசைப்படுத்த

Synonym : open

Antonyms : conclude

Example : “forces were deployed at strategic locations”

20) entails

Meaning : involve (something) as a necessary or inevitable part or consequence.

Tamil Meaning : இன்றியமையாதது

Synonym : encompass

Antonyms : exclude

Example : “a situation which entails considerable risks”

21) Convention

Meaning : a way in which something is usually done.

Tamil Meaning : மாநாடு

Synonym : meeting

Antonyms : discord

Example : “to attract the best patrons the movie houses had to ape the conventions and the standards of theatres”

22) predictable

Meaning : able to be predicted.

Tamil Meaning : யூகிக்கக்கூடிய

Synonym : certain

Antonyms : improbable

Example : “the market is volatile and never predictable”

23) pledge

Meaning : commit (a person or organization) by a solemn promise.

Tamil Meaning : உறுதிமொழி

Synonym : agreement

Antonyms : breach

Example : “the government pledged itself to deal with environmental problems”

24) cope

Meaning : (of a person) deal effectively with something difficult.

Tamil Meaning : சமாளிக்க

Synonym : handle

Antonyms : keep

Example : “his ability to cope with stress”

25) Obstructing

Meaning : block (an opening, path, road, etc.); be or get in the way of.

Tamil Meaning : அடைப்பை

Synonym : inhibiting

Antonyms : facilitating

Example : “she was obstructing the entrance”

26) detrimental

Meaning : tending to cause harm.

Tamil Meaning : சீரழிவான

Synonym : adverse

Antonyms : aiding

Example : “recent policies have been detrimental to the interests of many old people”

27) accumulate

Meaning : gather together or acquire an increasing number or quantity of.

Tamil Meaning : குவிக்க

Synonym : accrue

Antonyms : contract

Example : “investigators have yet to accumulate enough evidence”

28) binds

Meaning : tie or fasten (something) tightly together.

Tamil Meaning : கட்டமைப்புக்கான

Synonym : crunch , dilemma

Antonyms : solution

Example : “logs bound together with ropes”

29) liberal

Meaning : willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas.

Tamil Meaning : தாராளவாத

Synonym : flexible

Antonyms : intolerant

Example : “liberal views towards divorce”

30) destabilise

Meaning : upset the stability of (a region or system); cause unrest or instability in.

Tamil Meaning : சீர்குலைக்கும்

Synonym : Undermine

Antonyms : stabilize

Example : “the accused were charged with conspiracy to destabilize the country”

31) catastrophe.

Meaning : an event causing great and usually sudden damage or suffering; a disaster.

Tamil Meaning : பேரழிவை

Synonym : adversity

Antonyms : aid

Example : “an environmental catastrophe”

32) expediency

Meaning : the quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral; convenience.

Tamil Meaning : சூழ்நிலை

Synonym : practicality

Antonyms : detriment

Example : “an act of political expediency”

33) transition

Meaning : the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

Tamil Meaning : மாற்றம்

Synonym : conversion

Antonyms : decrease

Example : “students in transition from one programme to another”

34) reconfiguration

Meaning : the arrangement of parts or elements in a different form, figure, or combination.

Tamil Meaning : மறுகட்டமைப்பு

Synonym : affect

Example : “software reconfiguration”

35) strategic

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

Tamil Meaning : மூலோபாய

Synonym : critical

Antonyms : trivial

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

36) offshore

Meaning : move (some of a company’s processes or services) overseas.

Tamil Meaning :

Synonym : seaward

Antonyms : onshore

Example : “he predicts that 750,000 UK jobs will be offshored in the next 10 years”

37) deny

Meaning : state that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of.

Tamil Meaning : மறுக்க

Synonym : ban

Antonyms : accept

Example : “both firms deny any responsibility for the tragedy”

38) conflict

Meaning : be incompatible or at variance; clash.

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonym : battle

Antonyms : truce

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

39) optimally

Meaning : in the best or most favourable way.

Tamil Meaning : உகந்ததாகும்

Synonym : ideally

Example : “to function optimally, the body requires a large range of nutrients”

40) deference

Meaning : polite submission and respect.

Tamil Meaning : பணிவு

Synonym : yielding

Antonyms : dishonor

Example : “he addressed her with the deference due to age”


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