THE HINDU EDITORIAL – September 6, 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) Home and away: on the Indian Test team’s recent record

India needs to work on its batting to end the string of defeats in Tests played abroad

The Indian cricket team under Virat Kohli has ambitions of being the best travelling side in the world, but it clearly has some way to go before this is realised. The defeat in the fourth Test against England in Southampton condemned India to a 1-3 series loss, the latest in a long line of disappointments away from home. Of its last nine Test series outside Asia, India has won only one — against a less-than-impressive West Indies. India arrived in England this summer as the world’s No.1 Test team, and believed it had the mettle to upstage the hosts. The batting, however, let the side down, struggling against swing and seam, with an experienced English attack ruthlessly exploiting the batsmen’s deficiencies. India started poorly, losing the first two Tests, and it was not until the third one in Nottingham that the batting unit collectively showed the application required to survive in tough conditions. Preparation, as several former batting greats have observed, is the key. Leading into the series, India played only one tour game, a three-day match against Essex, although a few players had turned out for India-A in a first-class fixture in Worcester earlier. It was clearly not adequate. Modern-day schedules do not give international teams adequate time for preparation; this is the principal reason that travelling sides tend to start on the back-foot, and often perform poorly.

Kohli, though, was an exception. Four years ago, he was in dreadful form on India’s tour of England, managing only 134 runs from 10 innings. This time around, he has been outstanding, having accumulated 544 runs in four Test matches. Kohli has shown patience and a resolve to go with his skill, proving beyond doubt that currently he is the finest batsman in the world. India is, however, over-reliant on him. His captaincy, too, can improve. Last week was the first time Kohli had fielded the same eleven in successive Tests — although injuries and pitches have played a part in such decisions, the constant tinkering cannot be of any help. In South Africa earlier this year, he made selection decisions that can best be described as curious, dropping the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. On this tour, he omitted Cheteshwar Pujara at Edgbaston in Birmingham; it is not ideal for players to feel that their place is perennially under threat. A captain can only be as good as his team, and Kohli’s legacy as a leader will be judged by the squad’s performance on tough tours. There are encouraging signs for the future, not least India’s superb pace attack. But it is not over yet, and with the fifth and final Test commencing at the Oval in London on Friday, India gets a last shot at salvaging its pride.

B) All for one, one for all?: on integrated military theatre commands

Each service of the military extolling its own importance is not helping India to study the changing character of war

There has been much discussion in the media recently on the integrated military theatre commands. Most of the opposition to such a restructuring has been led by Air Force officers, including former Chief of Air Staff S. Krishnaswamy, who have voiced the view that the creation of integrated commands would seriously hamper the effective application of air power, particularly because of the limited resources available with the Air Force.

Initial steps

The views of respected Air Force officers, particularly a former chief, need to be taken seriously. There is justification in the argument that moving ahead towards integrated commands without any meaningful restructuring in the higher defence organisation is premature. The initial steps should have been an integration of the Ministry of Defence and the appointment of a Chief of the Defence Staff. This would have put in place structures and practices that would encourage a jointness among the three services and perhaps pave the way in future towards integrated organisations.

What is more debatable is their somewhat simplistic view on the character of future wars. Wars would “be swift and the objectives… met in days or weeks,” wrote Air Chief Marshal (retd.) Krishnaswamy in The Indian Express on August 16 (“Why theatre commands is an unnecessary idea”). On the same day, in The Hindu (“The roadmap to military reform”) Arjun Subramaniam, a former Air Force officer, wrote that the Air Force would be the decisive arm because: “Capturing ground beyond a few kilometres or taking physical control of vast maritime spaces for prolonged durations are no longer sustainable operations of war as they arguably result in avoidable depletion of combat potential… It is in this context that air power would offer a viable alternative by shaping ‘battle spaces’ adequately before the other services enter combat.”

The Army and the Navy challenge this assertion with their opinions on the importance of land and sea power. The real problem lies in the fact that all three services have their own vision of how future conflicts could unfold and the primacy of their own arm in winning wars. The start point is therefore a common understanding between the services on the nature and character of wars that India could fight in the future.

According to Carl von Clausewitz, the nature of war does not change, it is the character of war that undergoes transformation. The enduring elements of the nature of war are its violent character, a clash of wills between two opponents, and political primacy. There is no war without these elements. The character of war, on the other hand, is related to how a war will be fought. This depends on our military capabilities, economy, technology, political considerations, civil-military relations, and the opponent’s aim and strategy.

Political purpose will decide the start and termination of wars, and the manner in which they will be fought. The services have made their operational plans based on a proactive (cold start) strategy, with the assumption that the war will be short and swift. Maximum combat power is to be harnessed and applied across the border in a series of strikes that will rapidly degrade the military potential of the enemy. The weakness with this strategy is that it seldom takes political objectives into consideration.

Three examples

Let us take a few examples of the recent past where military force was used or contemplated to be used by the Indian state. The Kargil conflict broke out in 1999. The Pakistan Army had clearly committed an act of war by occupying territory on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC). While the complete military was poised to strike Pakistan by land, sea and air, the political leadership decided to restrict the conflict to only the Kargil sector and to our own side of the LoC. Only a small fraction of the Indian Amy was applied while the Air Force was restricted to bombing posts that had been occupied by Pakistan Army soldiers. Despite this, Kargil was a resounding political, diplomatic and military victory.

The next crisis emerged from the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001. Operation Parakram was launched and the Indian Army mobilised for an impending war against Pakistan. The Army remained deployed along the borders for almost one year. Even the Kaluchak attack in Jammu and Kashmir in May 2002, in which 34, including soldiers, women and children, were killed, did not trigger an all-out conflict. As the Army returned to its barracks in December 2002, questions were raised whether the military had mobilised without the political leadership having clearly spelled out its objectives and whether this attempted show of force had actually proved counterproductive.

The Mumbai attack in November 2008 was the biggest terror strike launched from Pakistan. There was outrage in the country and calls for retaliation against Pakistan. I was posted in the Military Operations Directorate at that time and am aware that military options were discussed. However, the use of force was ruled out. As the former National Security Adviser, Shivshankar Menon, explains in his book, Choices: Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy, “The simple answer to why India did not immediately attack Pakistan is that after examining the options at the highest levels of government, the decision-makers concluded that more was to be gained from not attacking Pakistan than from attacking it.”

Apart from emphasising the need to synergise political and military objectives, another major lesson from these examples is that the importance of a military force lies in its utility to achieve the national aims, and not in the numbers of divisions, ships and aircraft squadrons. The dominance of America’s military power has not resulted in the achievement of its political objectives in Afghanistan.

Imagining the future

We must also debate the character of future wars. A number of questions need to be answered. What will be the contours of a war between nuclear armed adversaries, and how will victory be defined if we want to remain below the nuclear threshold? As our offensive columns enter the Punjab province of Pakistan, what is the sort of conflict that they will face? Will it merely be a pitting of two armies against each other or a hybrid conflict also involving the local population, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, and criminal elements?

How will China achieve its political objectives through armed conflict? Will it be by a massive application of force across the Himalayan watershed or by exploiting its advantages in information warfare, technology and ballistic missile capability? What will be the psychological impact of long-range missiles slamming into population centres and killing people who would never have imagined themselves to be a part of the conflict? Will this be the real clash of wills rather than actions along the border?

It is necessary for the three services to sit together and find realistic answers. We must be prepared for a whole range of options from non-contact warfare to a full-scale war. Our ability to generate 11,000 sorties in an exercise or launch three strike corps into Pakistan are visible displays of our combat potential but may not translate into the best utilisation of force for all contingencies.

It is only after these discussions crystallise that we will be able to arrive at a common understanding of how future wars could possibly play out and the kind of joint structures that are required to best fight this conflict. We may not get everything right but each service extolling its own importance is not helping our ability to prepare for the future.


1) condemn

Meaning : express complete disapproval of; censure.

Tamil Meaning : கண்டனம்

Synonyms : denounce , punish

Antonyms : compliment

Example : “most leaders roundly condemned the attack”

2) mettle

Meaning : a person’s ability to cope well with difficulties; spirit and resilience.

Tamil Meaning : மெய்ப்பித்து

Synonyms : courage , stamina

Antonyms : cowardice

Example : “the team showed their true mettle in the second half”

3) seam

Meaning : a line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together in a garment or other article.

Tamil Meaning : மடிப்பு

Synonyms : hem , joint

Antonyms : opening

Example : “I use small stitches so that the seam is not obvious”

4) ruthlessly

Meaning : without pity or compassion for others.

Tamil Meaning : இரக்கமற்ற

Synonyms : ferociously , savagely

Antonyms : gently

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

5) adequate.

Meaning : satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity.

Tamil Meaning : போதுமானது

Synonyms : acceptable

Antonyms : inappropriate

Example : “this office is perfectly adequate for my needs”

6) accumulated

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

Tamil Meaning : குவிக்க

Synonyms : acquire

Antonyms : decrease

Example : “investigators have yet to accumulate enough evidence”

7) reliant

Meaning : dependent on someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : நம்புவதற்குரிய

Synonyms : relying , subservient

Antonyms : independent

Example : “the company is heavily reliant on the baby market”

8) tinkering

Meaning : attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way.

Tamil Meaning : ஒட்டுவேலை

Synonyms : dabble , mess

Antonyms : break

Example : “he spent hours tinkering with the car”

9) pace

Meaning : a single step taken when walking or running.

Tamil Meaning : வேகம்

Synonyms : measure

Antonyms : stay

Example : “Kirov stepped back a pace”

10) commencing

Meaning : begin.

Tamil Meaning :தொடங்குகிறது

Synonyms : begin , inaugurate

Antonyms : close

Example : “his design team commenced work”

11) integrated

Meaning : (of an institution, body, etc.) desegregated, especially racially.

Tamil Meaning : ஒருங்கிணைந்த

Synonyms : unified

Antonyms : segregated

Example : “integrated education”

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

Synonyms : bassinet

Antonyms : assist

Example : “a picnic hamper”

13) perhaps

Meaning : used to express uncertainty or possibility.

Tamil Meaning : ஒருவேளை

Synonyms : perchance

Antonyms : improbably

Example : “perhaps I should have been frank with him”

14) debatable

Meaning : open to discussion or argument.

Tamil Meaning : விவாதத்திற்குரியது

Synonyms : arguable

Antonyms : certain

Example : “it is debatable whether the country is coming out of recession”

15) decisive

Meaning : settling an issue; producing a definite result.

Tamil Meaning : தீர்மானகரமான

Synonyms : conclusive

Antonyms : indefinite

Example : “the archers played a decisive part in the victory”

16) depletion

Meaning : reduction in the number or quantity of something.

Tamil Meaning : சிதைவு

Synonyms : deficiency

Antonyms : rehabilitation

Example : “the depletion of the ozone layer”

17) combat

Meaning : fighting between armed forces.

Tamil Meaning : போர்

Synonyms : action

Antonyms : agreement

Example : “five Hurricanes were shot down in combat”

18) assertion

Meaning : a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தல்

Synonyms : affirmation

Antonyms : desertion

Example : “his assertion that his father had deserted the family”

19) primacy

Meaning : the fact of being pre-eminent or most important.

Tamil Meaning : முதன்மையை

Synonyms : domination

Antonyms : inferiority

Example : “London’s primacy as a financial centre”

20) proactive

Meaning : (of a person or action) creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened.

Tamil Meaning : உயிர்ப்பான

Synonyms : aggressive

Antonyms : passive

Example : “employers must take a proactive approach to equal pay”

21) harnessed

Meaning : control and make use of (natural resources), especially to produce energy.

Tamil Meaning : சேணம்

Synonyms : strap

Antonyms : loosen

Example : “attempts to harness solar energy”

22) contemplated

Meaning : look thoughtfully for a long time at.

Tamil Meaning : சிந்திக்க

Synonyms : consider

Antonyms : forget

Example : “he contemplated his image in the mirrors”

23) poised

Meaning : having a composed and self-assured manner.

Tamil Meaning : தயாராக

Synonyms : hover

Antonyms : refuse

Example : “not every day you saw that poised, competent kid distressed”

24) diplomatic

Meaning : of or concerning diplomacy.

Tamil Meaning : தூதரக

Synonyms : gracious , strategic

Antonyms : rude

Example : “diplomatic relations with Britain were broken”

25) mobilised

Meaning : (of a country or its government) prepare and organize (troops) for active service.

Tamil Meaning : அணிதிரட்டி

Synonyms : assemble

Antonyms : disorganize

Example : “the government mobilized regular forces, reservists, and militia”

26) impending

Meaning : be about to happen.

Tamil Meaning : வரவிருக்கும்

Synonyms : brewing

Antonyms : gone

Example : “my impending departure”

27) barracks

Meaning : a large building or group of buildings used to house soldiers.

Synonyms : bivouac

Antonyms : cheer, applaud

Example : “the troops were ordered back to barracks”

28) outrage

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

Tamil Meaning : கோபத்தை

Synonyms : shock

Antonyms : advantage

Example : “her voice trembled with outrage”

29) emphasising

Meaning : give special importance or value to (something) in speaking or writing.

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தல்

Synonyms : attention

Antonyms : ignorance

Example : “they emphasize the need for daily, one-to-one contact between parent and child”

30) dominance

Meaning : power and influence over others.

Tamil Meaning : ஆதிக்கத்தை

Synonyms : control

Antonyms : impotence

Example : “the worldwide dominance of Hollywood”

31) contours

Meaning : an outline representing or bounding the shape or form of something.

Tamil Meaning : வரையறைகளை

Synonyms : curve ,silhouette

Antonyms : affection

Example : “she traced the contours of his face with her finger”

32) exploiting

Meaning : make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource).

Tamil Meaning : பயன்படுத்தி

Synonyms : apply

Antonyms : misuse

Example : “500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology”

33) sorties

Meaning : come out from a defensive position to make an attack.

Tamil Meaning : ஏவப்பட்டவற்றின்

Synonyms : raid

Antonyms : retreat

Example : “we’ll soon know if they sortie”

34) corps

Meaning : a branch of an army assigned to a particular kind of work.

Tamil Meaning : படை

Synonyms : band

Antonyms : connection

Example : “the Royal Army Medical Corps”

35) extolling

Meaning : praise enthusiastically.

Tamil Meaning : புகழ்கின்றார்

Synonyms : acclaim

Antonyms : castigate

Example : “he extolled the virtues of the Russian peoples”

36) slamming

Meaning : shut (a door, window, or lid) forcefully and loudly.

Tamil Meaning : வெடிப்பு

Synonyms : bang , bash

Antonyms : failure

Example : “he slams the door behind him as he leaves”

37) salvage

Meaning : rescue (a wrecked or disabled ship or its cargo) from loss at sea.

Tamil Meaning : மீட்டெடுப்பதற்கும்

Synonyms : redeem

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “an emerald and gold cross was salvaged from the wreck”

38) massive

Meaning : large and heavy or solid.

Tamil Meaning : பாரிய

Synonyms : colossal

Antonyms : common

Example : “a massive rampart of stone”

39) conflict

Meaning : be incompatible or at variance; clash.

Tamil Meaning : மோதல்

Synonyms : battle

Antonyms : truce

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

40) resounding

Meaning : unmistakable; emphatic.

Tamil Meaning : பெரும்

Synonyms : forceful

Antonyms : incomplete

Example : “the evening was a resounding success”


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