THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 22, 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) Diversity in unity: on the Ajit Jogi-Mayawati alliance

By allying with Ajit Jogi, Mayawati signals the BSP can’t be taken for granted

Things are never as easy as they seem from a distance. If the Congress entertained hopes of being at the centre of a national-level alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party, then it was relying heavily on the changed attitude of the Bahujan Samaj Party to seat-sharing and coalition-building. But as Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan draw near, the Congress is beginning to realise that the agreement on the by-elections in Uttar Pradesh between the BSP and the Samajwadi Party that was touted as a precursor to a larger understanding among opposition parties in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls of 2019 is anything but. By quickly concluding an agreement on seat-sharing with the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh led by former Congress chief minister Ajit Jogi, BSP leader Mayawati was clearly signalling to the Congress that its options were still open in M.P., and that unless given a fair share of the seats, the BSP would not back the Congress. While the BSP has understood the importance of seat-sharing after suffering successive reverses in U.P., this does not mean that it would play second fiddle to the SP or the Congress in U.P. or M.P. The Congress had run the BJP close in 2013, winning 40.29% of the valid votes, and the result could have been very different if it had fought the election with the BSP as a partner. Together with the BSP’s 4.27% share of the votes, the Congress would have been ahead of the BJP, which got 41.04% of the votes. A year later, in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress fared far worse, ceding a 10-percentage point lead to the BJP in vote share. Any which way the Congress looks at the scenario, the JCC-BSP alliance is not good news.

But it is in the bigger State of Madhya Pradesh that the Congress needs the BSP more. While it is conceivable that the Congress could bridge the gap with the BJP on its own in Chhattisgarh, in M.P. the challenge is greater, and the BSP, which won 6.29% of the valid votes in 2013, is stronger. The difference between the BJP and the Congress five years ago was more than 8 percentage points, and the BSP would like to leverage its position as a serious third player. But with the tie-up with the JCC in Chhattisgarh, the BSP might have made an electoral adjustment more problematic in M.P. While Rajasthan is a polarised contest between the BJP and the Congress, M.P. and Chhattisgarh could well see the BSP cornering a chunk of the anti-incumbency vote among the Dalits. A failure in either of the two States in central India on account of a divided opposition will make the Congress’s efforts to put together a broad-based front against the BJP that much more difficult. Many parties might be opposed to the BJP, but that alone cannot be the reason for them to come together in alliance.

B) Seeking a managed exit

A year after U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his new Afghanistan policy, the stalemate continues

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was in New Delhi on September 19 for a day-long working visit. A short press release indicates the low-key nature of the visit. The reason is simple — the growing sense of uncertainty that prevails. Presumably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took up the issue of seven engineers working for KEC International who remain missing after being kidnapped this May, and Mr. Ghani would have assured him about Kabul’s sincere efforts to rescue them. Pro forma references to the Strategic Partnership and the New Development Partnership were made but there were no new announcements. India reiterated its support for ‘an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process’ with the Taliban though it is clear that the strings are being manipulated from other capitals.

A year after U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his new Afghanistan policy, the stalemate continues. Incidents of violence and civilian casualties keep going up. There have been high profile attacks in recent months in Farah, Baghlan and Ghazni in addition to suicide attacks in Kabul claimed by the Islamic State (IS). The Taliban leadership and the Haqqani network retain their sanctuaries in Pakistan and enjoy the support of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). In terms of population under control, there has been a slow erosion and the hold of the Kabul government is now limited to 56%. Repeated offers of talks by Mr. Ghani have been rebuffed by the Taliban, except for a three-day ceasefire during Eid in June. Parliamentary elections due since 2015 are unlikely to be held in October as announced. Presidential elections are due in April 2019. The experiment of the National Unity Government has not worked and the prospects of the 2019 election yielding an outcome that is seen as legitimate appear remote. All key players, including the U.S., have now opened their own communication lines with the Taliban.

Pakistan dependency

The objectives of the U.S. policy announced last year were to break the military stalemate on the ground by expanding both the presence and the role of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Operational constraints in terms of calling for surveillance and air support were eased. The Obama approach of announcing timelines for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan was replaced by a conditions-based approach. Pakistan was put on notice with Mr. Trump tweeting about Pakistan’s duplicity in being “a non-NATO ally” and providing safe haven to insurgent groups. Earlier this month, the U.S. announced that it was cancelling $300 million in military aid to Pakistan. However, it is clear that U.S.’s Pakistan policy, which has oscillated for 17 years between cajoling using pay-offs and punishing by withholding or cancelling pay-offs, has once again failed to change Pakistan’s behaviour.

Slowly, the U.S. is realising the uncomfortable truth that it is unable to change Pakistan’s policy because Pakistan’s security establishment does not find such a shift in its interest. The Pakistani military and the ISI do not support the idea of a territorially united, peaceful and stable Afghanistan, never mind the public statements at international conferences. At the same time, the ISI is unlikely to support the idea of a complete Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. It remembers that after the jihad in the 1980s, when the Mujahideen leaders finally took control in Afghanistan in 1992 after the Najibullah government fell, they stopped listening to the ISI even as they started fighting among themselves. This led to the emergence of the Taliban, assisted and nurtured by Pakistan. The ISI prefers a controlled instability in Afghanistan where the Taliban enjoys some power but wants more as this keeps the group dependent on the ISI.

The U.S. is unable to get out of this bind as long as it maintains a significant military presence in Afghanistan and therefore remains dependent on communication and supply routes through Pakistan. It is unable to take stronger measures such as directly targeting the insurgent safe havens in Pakistan, terminating its status as “a non-NATO ally”, sanctioning specific military officers or considering placing Pakistan on the list of ‘state sponsors of terrorism’. The U.S.’s dependence provides the security establishment in Pakistan a degree of influence in the corridors of power in Washington that has enabled it to receive over $33 billion over the last 17 years, despite the ups and downs in what can only be described as an unhappy marriage that neither side is able to terminate.

End game in Afghanistan

This is why Mr. Trump’s earlier objective of “winning” in Afghanistan has been quietly put aside. The U.S. appears to be seeking a managed exit, leaving after a successfully conducted election so that the blood (2,400 U.S. lives) and treasure (nearly $1 trillion) can be justified as having delivered an honourable outcome. For the outcome to last, at least for some time, the insurgency needs to be curbed. Having failed to defeat it through kinetic means, the U.S. opened direct talks with the Taliban two months ago. In the past, the U.S. had refrained from doing so, maintaining that this would undermine the legitimacy of the Kabul government. It had therefore prodded Pakistan to deliver the Taliban to an ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned’ reconciliation process which did not happen.

The first round in July, in Qatar, with State Department senior official Alice Wells was preliminary. The talks were explained as intended to judge if the Taliban is serious and thereby ‘facilitate’ direct talks with the Afghan government. It has also expressed concern about the growing presence of the IS. Last week, the Taliban made it clear that its demands include release of Taliban prisoners held in U.S. custody and a closure of U.S. bases in Afghanistan. With the appointment of former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad as Special Adviser, talks with the Taliban are likely to intensify.

The IS argument was used by Russia to open up direct talks with the Taliban more than a year ago. Iran has its own channels to the Taliban. Both Russia and Iran believe that notwithstanding the ideological affinity, turf battles will ensure that the Taliban will resent the Arab-dominated IS. This happened in August in Jowzjan, where after a pitched battle, 250 IS cadres chose to surrender to the Afghan authorities rather than face summary justice at the hands of the Taliban. With U.S. encouragement, Uzbekistan has also entertained senior Taliban leaders in Tashkent to persuade them to engage in talks with Kabul. Concerned about Uighur militants, China is planning to train and equip an Afghan brigade to be deployed in Badakshan even as it seeks Taliban help in securing its China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. This has given the Taliban a new legitimacy — exactly as Pakistan had wanted. With the emergence of the IS, a distinction between good Taliban and bad Taliban is no longer necessary.

A shift?

Realising that the end game is approaching, the Taliban too has changed tack. In the areas under its control, instead of destroying the schools, clinics and courts, it is running them by co-opting or replacing local officials who remain on the government’s payroll. It realises that it needs to emerge from being a shadowy underground insurgency and demonstrate governance skills. Mr. Ghani would like to stand again in 2019, this time as a candidate who brought peace to Afghanistan, though with so many different players pulling in different directions, peace will remain illusory. What is likely is that after the 2019 election, the U.S. will get its managed exit, which Mr. Trump will trumpet as his singular achievement.


1) relying

Meaning : depend on with full trust or confidence.

Tamil Meaning : நம்ப

Synonyms : await , confide

Antonyms : disbelieve

Example : “I know I can rely on your discretion”

2) touted

Meaning : attempt to sell (something), typically by a direct or persistent approach.

Tamil Meaning :துரோகி

Synonyms : laud , praise

Antonyms : blame

Example : “Sanjay was touting his wares”

3) precursor

Meaning : a person or thing that comes before another of the same kind; a forerunner.

Tamil Meaning : முன்னோடி

Synonyms : harbinger , forerunner

Antonyms : successor

Example : “a three-stringed precursor of the violin”

4) fiddle

Meaning : touch or fidget with something in a restless or nervous way.

Synonyms : fidget , interfere

Antonyms : work

Example :”Lena fiddled with her cup”

5) fared

Meaning : perform in a specified way in a particular situation or over a particular period.

Tamil Meaning : பலனைத்தந்து

Synonyms : handle , prove

Antonyms : decrease

Example : “the party fared badly in the elections”

6) conceivable

Meaning : capable of being imagined or grasped mentally.

Tamil Meaning : மனத்தில்

Synonyms : believable , imaginable

Antonyms : implausible

Example : “a mass uprising was entirely conceivable”

7) leverage

Meaning : use (something) to maximum advantage.

Tamil Meaning : அந்நிய

Synonyms : advantage , weight

Antonyms : weakness

Example : “the organization needs to leverage its key resources:”

8) chunk

Meaning : a thick, solid piece of something.

Tamil Meaning : துண்டு

Synonyms : block , piece

Antonyms : whole

Example : “huge chunks of masonry littered the street”

9) incumbency

Meaning : the holding of an office or the period during which one is held.

Tamil Meaning : ஆட்சியில் இருந்தவர்கள்

Synonyms : clamp , clutch

Antonyms : misconception

Example : “during his incumbency he established an epidemic warning system”

10) prevails

Meaning : prove more powerful or superior.

Tamil Meaning : நிலவும்

Synonyms : abound , overcome

Antonyms : forfeit

Example : “it is hard for logic to prevail over emotion”

11) Presumably

Meaning : used to convey that what is asserted is very likely though not known for certain.

Tamil Meaning : ஊகிக்கப்படுகிறது

Synonyms : apparently , supposedly

Antonyms : improbably

Example : “it was not yet ten o’clock, so presumably the boys were still at the pub”

12) rescue

Meaning : save (someone) from a dangerous or difficult situation.

Tamil Meaning : மீட்பு

Synonyms : delivery , recovery

Antonyms : failure

Example : “firemen rescued a man trapped in the river”

13) forma

Meaning : another term for form

Tamil Meaning : வடிவம்

14) Strategic

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

Tamil Meaning : மூலோபாய

Synonyms : critical , important

Antonyms : trivial

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

15) reiterated

Meaning : say something again or a number of times, typically for emphasis or clarity.

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்திக்

Synonyms : renew , repeat

Antonyms : take back

Example : “she reiterated that the government would remain steadfast in its support”

16) reconciliation

Meaning : the restoration of friendly relations.

Tamil Meaning : சமரசம்

Synonyms : agreement , compromise

Antonyms : disagreement

Example : “his reconciliation with your uncle”

17) unveiled

Meaning : remove a veil or covering from, in particular uncover (a new monument or work of art) as part of a public ceremony.

Tamil Meaning : வெளியிட்டது

Synonyms : disclose , tell

Antonyms : conceal

Example : “the Princess unveiled a plaque”

18) stalemate

Meaning : bring to or cause to reach stalemate.

Tamil Meaning : இக்கட்டான நிலை

Synonyms : delay , gridlock

Antonyms : advance

Example : “the currently stalemated peace talks”

19) erosion

Meaning : the gradual destruction or diminution of something.

Synonyms : corrosion , disintegration

Antonyms : construction

Example : “the erosion of support for the party”

20) rebuffed

Meaning : reject (someone or something) in an abrupt or ungracious manner.

Tamil Meaning : மறுக்கப்பட்டது

Synonyms : chide , reject

Antonyms : accept

Example : “I asked her to be my wife, and was rebuffed in no uncertain terms”

21) constraints

Meaning : a limitation or restriction.

Tamil Meaning : தடைகள்

Synonyms : pressure , restraint

Antonyms : deterrent

Example : “time constraints make it impossible to do everything”

22) insurgent

Meaning : a person fighting against a government or invading force; a rebel or revolutionary.

Tamil Meaning : கிளர்ச்சிக்

Synonyms : revolutionary

Antonyms : obedient

Example : “an attack by armed insurgents”

23) nurtured

Meaning : care for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing.

Tamil Meaning : பராமரிக்கவில்லை

Synonyms : cherish , cultivate

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “Jarrett was nurtured by his parents in a close-knit family”

24) sanctioning

Meaning : give official permission or approval for (an action).

Tamil Meaning : ஒப்புதல்

Synonyms : accredit , certify

Antonyms : deny

Example : “the scheme was sanctioned by the court”

25) curbed

Meaning : restrain or keep in check.

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுப்படுத்து

Synonyms : barrier , ledge

Antonyms : freedom

Example : “she promised she would curb her temper”

26) kinetic

Meaning : relating to or resulting from motion.

Tamil Meaning : இயக்க

Synonyms : animated peppy

Antonyms : apathetic

27) refrained

Meaning : stop oneself from doing something.

Tamil Meaning : தவிர்த்து

Synonyms : avoid , resist

Antonyms : continue

Example : “she refrained from comment”

28) undermine

Meaning : erode the base or foundation of (a rock formation).

Tamil Meaning : கீழறுக்க

Synonyms : blunt , erode

Antonyms : assist

Example : “the flow of water had undermined pillars supporting the roof”

29) legitimacy

Meaning : conformity to the law or to rules.

Tamil Meaning : சட்டபூர்வமான தன்மையை

Synonyms : authority, validity

Example : “refusal to recognize the legitimacy of both governments”

30) custody

Meaning : the protective care or guardianship of someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : காவலில்

Synonyms : protection

Antonyms : dissuade

Example : “the property was placed in the custody of a trustee”

31) intended

Meaning : the person one intends to marry; one’s fiancé or fiancée.

Tamil Meaning : நோக்கம்

Synonyms : contracted , designed

Antonyms : unfixed

Example : “she used to be my intended”

32) affinity

Meaning : a natural liking for and understanding of someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : இணக்கத்தை

Synonyms : affection , fondness

Antonyms : dislike

Example : “he had a special affinity with horses”

33) scenario

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

Tamil Meaning : சூழ்நிலை

Synonyms : plot , scheme

Antonyms : result

Example : “the scenarios for four short stories”

34) resent

Meaning : feel bitterness or indignation at (a circumstance, action, or person).

Tamil Meaning : சினம்கொள்ள

Synonyms : dislike , begrudge

Antonyms : be happy

Example : “she resented the fact that I had children”

35) deployed

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

Tamil Meaning : நிறுத்தி

Synonyms : open , use

Antonyms : conclude

Example : “forces were deployed at strategic locations”

36) distinction

Meaning : a difference or contrast between similar things or people.

Tamil Meaning : வேறுபாட்டை

Synonyms : contrast , discrepancy

Antonyms : agreement

Example : “there is a sharp distinction between domestic politics and international politics”

37) illusory

Meaning : based on illusion; not real.

Tamil Meaning : மறைபொருளான

Synonyms : misleading unreal

Antonyms : genuine

Example : “she knew the safety of her room was illusory”

38) trumpet

Meaning : proclaim widely or loudly.

Tamil Meaning : எக்காள

Synonyms : clarion , cornet

Antonyms : trumpet

Example : “the press trumpeted another defeat for the government”

39) shadowy

Meaning : of uncertain identity or nature.

Tamil Meaning : நிழல்

Synonyms : dark

Antonyms : bright

Example : “a shadowy figure appeared through the mist”

40) persuade

Meaning : induce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.

Tamil Meaning : இணங்க

Synonyms : assure , enlist

Antonyms : dissuade

Example : “it wasn’t easy, but I persuaded him to do the right thing”


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