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The Hindu Vocab 26th Dec 2017

On the line: on India-China boundary talks

It is vital that India-China talks on the boundary question pick up speed

The meeting between the Special Representatives of India and China — National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and State Councillor Yang Jiechi — on the boundary question on December 22, the 20th so far, was unique for a number of reasons. The talks came more than 20 months after the last round, reflecting a period of extreme strain (पूरी शक्ति लगाकर देखना/सुनना) in India-China ties, including the 70-day troop stand-off at Doklam this year. Previous meetings had followed each other within a year. Also, at the recent Communist Party Congress, Mr. Yang was elevated (उच्चस्तरीय, उन्नत) to the Political Bureau, and this is the first time the Chinese side has been represented by an SR of such seniority. As a result, the two sides were best poised (संतुलित) to move ahead in the three-step process that was part of the Agreement on ‘Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question’ in 2005 — that is, defining the guidelines for the settlement of border disputes, formulating a framework (रूपरेखा) agreement on the implementation of the guidelines, and completing border demarcation (सीमांकन). The SRs were given an extended mandate (आदेश) after meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping this year, and thus went well beyond the remit (नियन्त्रण या प्रभाव के बाहर) of discussing the resolution of boundary issues. Above all, they were guided by the Modi-Xi agreements of 2017, including the ‘Astana consensus (सर्वसम्मति)’ that “differences must not be allowed to become disputes”, and the understanding at Xiamen that India-China relations “are a factor of stability” in an increasingly unstable world.

It would be a mistake, however, to infer (अनुमान लगाना) that with all these engagements the worst in bilateral (द्विदेशीय) ties is now behind the two countries. Since 2013, when the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed, there has been a steady decline in relations in all spheres (क्षेत्र). The border has seen more transgressions (उल्लंघन), people-to-people ties have suffered amid mutual suspicion (संदेह), and China’s forays (आक्रमण) in South Asia as well as India’s forays into South-East Asian sea lanes have increasingly become areas of contestation (विवाद). In India, this is seen as the outcome of China’s ambition of geopolitical domination (भूराजनैतिकअधिकार). In this vitiated (दूषित) atmosphere India views every move by China as a targeted assault (धावा करनेवाला) — such as the Belt and Road Initiative with the economic corridor (गलियारा) with Pakistan, the free trade agreement with the Maldives, and the blocking of India’s membership bid at the Nuclear Suppliers Group. In turn, Beijing sees the U.S.-India defence agreements, the Quadrilateral engagement with Japan, Australia and the U.S., and Indian opposition to the BRI quite the same way. The stand-off (क़ायम) at Doklam was a hint of what may ensue (परिणामस्वरूप होना) at greater regularity unless greater attention is paid to resolving the differences for which the SR meetings process was set up in the first place.


1. Strain: to draw tight or taut, especially to the utmost tension; stretch to the full
Synonyms: ace, bit, crumb, dab, dram, driblet, glimmer, hint, lick, little, mite, nip, ounce, peanuts, ray, scintilla, scruple, shade, shadow, shred, skosh, smack, smell, smidgen (also smidgeon or smidgin or smidge), snap, soupçon, spark, spatter, speck, splash, spot, sprinkling, strain, streak, suspicion, tad, touch, trace
Antonyms: abundance, barrel, boatload, bucket, bundle, bushel, deal, fistful, gobs, heaps, lashings (also lashins) [chiefly British], loads, lot, mass, mess, mountain, much, oodles, passel, peck, pile, plenty, potful, profusion, quantity, raft, reams, scads, stack, wad, wealth, volume, bonanza, embarrassment, excess, overabundance, overage, overflow, overkill, overmuch, oversupply, superabundance, superfluity, surfeit, surplus

2. Elevated: being at a higher level than average
Synonyms: high, escalated, heightened, increased, jacked (up), raised, up
Antonyms: extreme, full, maximized, maximum, peaked, sky-high, utmost, inflated, over, overfilled, overflowing, overfull, overlarge, overloaded, oversize (or oversized)

3. Poised: a condition in which opposing forces are equal to one another
Synonyms: counterpoise, equilibration, equilibrium, equipoise, balance, stasis
Antonyms: changeability, fluctuation, inconstancy, insecurity, instability, mutability, precariousness, shakiness, unsteadiness, volatility, disequilibration, disequilibrium, imbalance, nonequilibrium, unbalance

4. Demarcation: the state of being kept distinct
Synonyms: separation, discreteness, discrimination, distinction
Antonyms: blurring, confusion

5. Mandate: the granting of power to perform various acts or duties
Synonyms: accreditation, authorization, delegation, empowerment, license (or licence), commission
Words Related: commendation, consignment, entrustment, facilitation, fostering, promotion, commanding, directing, ordering
Antonyms: breach, denial, refusal, veto, break, request

6. Remit: to grow less in scope or intensity especially gradually
Synonyms: abate, decline, de-escalate, die (away or down or out), diminish, drain (away), drop (off), dwindle, ease, ebb, fall, fall away, lessen, let up, lower, moderate, pall, phase down, ratchet (down) also rachet (down), recede, relent, decrease, shrink, subside, taper, taper off, wane
Antonyms: appear, emerge, show up, blow up, distend, elongate, lengthen, accumulate, balloon, build, burgeon (also bourgeon), enlarge, escalate, expand, grow, increase, intensify, mount, mushroom, pick up, rise, snowball, soar, swell, wax

7. Consensus: the state of being of one opinion about something
Synonyms: accord, concurrence, concurrency, agreement, unanimity, unison
Antonyms: discord, dissension (also dissention), dissent, opposition, resistance, conflict, disagreement, dissensus

8. Infer: to form an opinion or reach a conclusion through reasoning and information
Synonyms: conclude, decide, deduce, derive, extrapolate, gather, judge, make out, reason, understand
Antonyms: announce, declare, proclaim, elucidate, explain, spell out, delineate, describe

9. Bilateral: Having or relating to two sides; affecting both sides.
Synonyms: mutual, reciprocal, respective
Antonyms: multilateral, unilateral

10. Sphere: a region of activity, knowledge, or influence
Synonyms: area, arena, bailiwick, barony, business, circle, demesne, department, discipline, domain, element, fief, fiefdom, firmament, front, game, kingdom, line, precinct, province, realm, specialty, field, terrain, walk
Words Related: ambit, amplitude, breadth, compass, confine, dimension(s), extent, ken, reach, scope, sweep, width, subfield, subspecialty

11. Transgressions: a failure to uphold the requirements of law, duty, or obligation
Synonyms: contravention, infraction, infringement, breach, trespass, violation
Antonyms: respecting, upholding, noninfringement, nonviolation, observance

12. Suspicion: a feeling or attitude that one does not know the truth, truthfulness, or trustworthiness of someone or something
Synonyms: distrust, distrustfulness, dubiety, dubitation [archaic], incertitude, misdoubt, misgiving, mistrust, mistrustfulness, query, reservation, skepticism, doubt, uncertainty
Antonyms: assurance, belief, certainty, certitude, confidence, conviction, sureness, surety, trust

13. Forays: a sudden attack on and entrance into hostile territory
Synonyms: descent, raid, incursion, inroad, invasion, irruption
Antonyms: abstention, laziness, idleness

14. Contestation: variance of opinion on a matter
Synonyms: disagreement, controversy, debate, difference, difficulty, disputation, dispute, dissension (also dissention), dissensus, firestorm, nonconcurrence
Antonyms: accord, agreement, consensus, harmony, unanimity, acceptance, compliance

15. Vitiated: to affect slightly with something morally bad or undesirable
Synonyms: blemish, darken, mar, poison, spoil, stain, tarnish, touch, taint
Antonyms: cleanse, purify, dignify, elevate, ennoble, enshrine, glorify, hallow, magnify, uplift

16. Assault: the act or action of setting upon with force or violence
Synonyms: aggression, attack, attempt, blitz, blitzkrieg, charge, coup de main, descent, offense (or offence), offensive, onset, onslaught, raid, rush, strike
Antonyms: defense, defensive, guard, shield, opposition, resistance, protection, security, shelter

17. Corridor: a broad geographical area
Synonyms: belt, region, land, neck, part(s), tract, zone
Words Related: district, domain, latitude(s), range, realm, terrain, territory, neighborhood, vicinity

18. Ensue: Happen or occur afterwards or as a result
Synonyms: result, follow, develop, stem, spring, arise, derive, evolve, proceed, emerge, emanate, issue, flow, occur, happen, take place, surface, crop up, spring up, present itself, come next, come about, transpire, supervene, be caused by, be brought about by, be produced by, originate in, accompany, be attended by, be consequent on, come after
Antonyms: cause, cease, disregard, neglect, repress, antecede, halt, precede, stop

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