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Article: Strategic Partnership, Really?
Bilateral relations coast on diplomatic niceties and joint statements invariably use flowery language to describe relationships in the best possible terms. Nevertheless, India’s decisions over the past two decades to upgrade more than 30 of its bilateral relationships to “strategic partnerships” are excessive. While there may be many ways to parse the term, its usage in international diplomacy is fairly clear: it defines a bilateral relationship more important than others, but stops short of an actual alliance. The term “strategic” further implies a future convergence of interests in areas that are vital: security, defence and investment. If that is the case, India’s latest strategic partnership signed with the east African country of Rwanda, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Gandhinagar this week, warrants further study. Rwanda is a land-locked country with 90 per cent of its population engaged in subsistence agriculture. It is also still recovering from the mass murder of large sections of its Hutu population in 1994, though the country has registered remarkable progress and growth in the last few years. While it may therefore be an important destination for India’s development assistance, it is difficult to see how it qualifies as a “strategic partner”, particularly given that India is yet to set up a full diplomatic mission in the country; the last time New Delhi even sent a delegation to Kigali was in 2012. Given all of this, it would seem that the government’s move was more about window-dressing the relationship than imbuing it with any meaningful substance.
Mr. Modi’s is not the first government to use the term “strategic partnership” lightly. Since 1998, when India announced its first strategic partnership with France, successive governments have signed such partnerships with dozens of countries. While relations with each of these are important, they are not vital to India’s interests. The nomenclature also begs a question: if all the countries on the list are strategically important, what does this mean for countries on the UN Security Council such as the U.S, the U.K., France, Russia and China, or others such as Japan, Australia, and some of the neighbors who genuinely contribute to India’s security and economic interests and who have also signed strategic-partnership agreements with New Delhi? Clearly, a more cogent policy with clear-cut criteria for strategic partnerships must be considered by the Ministry of External Affairs, with the focus on countries with which there is a long-term vision on securing India’s needs, coupled with a convergence of strategic interests.
1. Coast (verb) (चलाना / फिसलना): (of a person or vehicle) move forward easily without using much power
Synonym: cruise, sail, move
Antonym: hinder, prevent
Sentence: They were coasting down a long hill.
2. Niceties (noun) (ब्योरा / विवरण): A fine or subtle detail or distinction
Synonym: Nuances, details, shades, refinement
Antonym: imprecision, inaccuracy, inexactness
Sentence: Legal niceties are wasted on him because they have no effect on him.
3. Flowery (adjective) (अलंकृत /आलंकारिक): Full of elaborate and literary phrases
Synonym: Florid, flamboyant, grandiloquent, ornate
Antonym: Inelaborate, unembellished, plain
Sentence: The writing of the new writer is appreciated because of the flowery language used by him.
4. Parse (verb) (पदव्याख्या): Resolve a sentence into its component parts and describe their syntactic roles
Synonym: Determine, dissect, anatomize
Antonym: waver, connect, join
Sentence: I asked a couple of my students to parse these sentences for me.
5. Convergence (noun) (अभिसरण): The process or state of coming together or converging
Synonym: Concurrence, confluence, meeting
Antonym: Divergence, distinction, deflection
Sentence: The convergence of the sky and the land at the horizons makes a very interesting watch.
6. Warrant (verb) (अधिकार देना): Justify or necessitate a course of action
Synonym: Permit, pledge, certification
Antonym: Prohibition, refusal, breach
Sentence: The employees of the company feel that the industrial action is warranted on the part of the management.
7. Imbue (verb) (भर देना): Inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality
Synonym: Instill, pervade, permeate
Antonym: Take out, drain
Sentence: His works are invariably imbued with a sense of calm and serenity.
8. Nomenclature (noun) (नामपद्धति): The devising or choosing of names for things especially for scientific things.
Synonym: Classification, glossary, locution
Sentence: The students found it very hard to remember the nomenclature of chemical objects.
9. Cogent (adjective) (प्रभावशाली / बलवान): (of an argument or case) clear, logical and convincing
Synonym: Compelling, forceful, persuasive
Antonym: Ineffective, impotent, invalid
Sentence: They put forward cogent arguments for India’s entry into the National Suppliers Group of nuclear enabled countries of the world.
10. Subsistence (noun) (गुजारा / जीविका ): The action or act of supporting oneself especially at a minimal level
Synonym: Livelihood, affluence, alimentation
Antonym: Ignorance, neglect, poverty
Sentence: They were unable to even earn the minimum income required for subsistence in life.
Question (1-5): Answer the following questions as directed
1. Which among the following is SIMILAR in meaning to the word Ruthless?
- Other than those given in options
Solution: Option (4)
Explantion: The given word implies an act of savagery and without any compassion. This makes option (4) the right choice among the given options.
2. Which among the following is SIMILAR in meaning to the word Hostile?
Solution: Option (5)
Explantion: The given word implies something that is distasteful and hateful. It makes option (5) the right choice among the given options.
3. Which among the following is SIMILAR in meaning to the word Abrogate?
- None of the above
Solution: Option (3)
Explantion: The given word means to cancel or annul something and that makes option (3) the right synonym to the given word among all the options.
4. Which among the following is SIMILAR in meaning to the word Placid?
Solution: Option (1)
Explantion: The given word implies something calm and serene. This makes option (1) the right choice among the given options.
5. Which among the following is OPPOSITE in meaning to the word Quell?
- None of the above
Solution: Option (3)
Explantion: The given word implies to suppress or extinguish something. This makes option (3) the right choice among the given options since it means to agitate somebody with something.