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THE HINDU Editorial Vocabulary - March 13, 2018 - Topic 1

Indo-French harmony
On President Macron's visit to India
Much like the pioneering India-France strategic partnership of 1998, the agreements signed during President Emmanuel Macron’s visit are set to strengthen bilateral cooperation at a time of global flux. The Joint Vision Statement on the Indian Ocean Region is clearly aimed at countering China’s growing presence in the region. 
And the International Solar Alliance, recommitment to starting the Jaitapur nuclear power plant, and joint ventures on climate change cooperation are reactions to the U.S. abdicating its role by announcing its pullout from the Paris accord. The “reciprocal logistics support” agreement, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a “golden step” in defence cooperation, is a signal to Russia and to the U.S.-led alliance that partnered in the “Quadrilateral”, that both New Delhi and Paris feel the need to diversify strategic postures beyond their current choices. Finally, by bringing 61 countries into the ISA, India and France are proposing an alternative leadership model for the less developed world, challenging the geopolitical power structure configured around fossil-fuel energy resources. Notably, Mr. Modi and Mr. Macron declared they would ensure cheaper solar energy and increase avenues for financing, something that has created heat at the WTO. The daunting task ahead is made clear by Mr. Macron’s assertion that $1 trillion is needed to reach the ISA goals by 2030: India and France have so far committed $1.4 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.
There are other contradictions that New Delhi and Paris must contend with. For example, India’s solar power tariffs stand at about 2.40 a unit and there is little scope to make the domestic industry profitable, as Mr. Modi wants, unless the cost of solar panels and other components are brought down drastically. At the same time, more thermal power, for which tariffs are higher but which is less fickle than solar or wind power, is being produced than the demand. France’s nuclear power story is a success, but negotiations between EDF and NPCIL for the Jaitapur plant, billed as the world’s biggest, have made very slow progress. While the two countries have committed to start construction by end-2018, they have missed deadlines multiple times. Bilateral cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region too is more symbolic than substantive today, and much will depend on how closely the Indian and French navies and intelligence work together in the future. The presumed joint message to Beijing may also be blurred by Mr. Macron’s parallel commitment to help “lead” the Belt and Road Initiative with China. As two pluralistic democracies with a firm belief in a multipolar world order and in the future of Eurasia, India and France have numerous strategic convergences. But common ambitions to cooperate on the world stage, as projected by Mr. Macron and Mr. Modi, must be grounded in some hard realities as well.
Pioneer: develop or be the first to use or apply a new method, area of knowledge, or activity
Example: He has pioneered a number of innovative techniques
Synonyms: introduce, develop, evolve, launch, instigate, initiate, spearhead

Strategic: relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.
Example: The company should take strategic actions to cope with fundamental changes in the environment
Synonyms: planned, calculated, tactical, politic, judicious, prudent
Antonyms: unimportant

Presence: the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.
Example: Her presence still comforts me
Synonyms: existence, being there; attendance, appearance, company
Antonyms: absence

Pullout: a section of a magazine or newspaper that is designed to be detached and kept for rereading.
Example: Don't miss Monday's 8-page NBA pullout
Synonyms: detachment, disengagement, fallback

Alliance: a union or association formed for mutual benefit, especially between countries or organizations.
Example: A defensive alliance between Australia and New Zealand
Synonyms: association, union, league, confederation, federation, confederacy
Antonyms: antagonism, discord, disunion, divorce, enmity

Diversify: make or become more diverse or varied.
Example: The trilobites diversified into a great number of species
Synonyms: branch out, radiate, broaden
Antonyms: specialise, narrow down, narrow

Configure: shape or put together in a particular form or configuration.
Example: Two of the aircraft will be configured as VIP transports

Daunting: seeming difficult to deal with in anticipation; intimidating.
Example: A daunting task
Synonyms: intimidating, formidable, disconcerting, unnerving, unsettling
Antonyms: encouraging

Assertion: a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief.
Example: His assertion that his father had deserted the family
Synonyms: declaration, contention, statement, claim, opinion, proclamation
Antonyms: bashfulness, confusion, consternation, dismay

Contradiction: a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.
Example: The proposed new system suffers from a set of internal contradictions
Synonyms: absurdity, demonstration, nonsense
Antonyms: axiom, truism

Fickle: changing frequently, especially as regards one's loyalties, interests, or affection.
Example: Web patrons are a notoriously fickle lot, bouncing from one site to another on a whim
Synonyms: capricious, changeable, variable, volatile, mercurial, inconstant
Antonyms: constant, unchangeable

Symbolic: serving as a symbol.
Example: A repeating design symbolic of eternity
Synonyms: figurative, representative, illustrative, emblematic, metaphorical
Antonyms: nonrepresentative, unsymbolic

Substantive: having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable.
Example: There is no substantive evidence for the efficacy of these drugs
Synonyms: substantial, significant, hearty, essential, real
Antonyms: adjective, nonmeaningful, unessential, inessential

Blur: make or become unclear or less distinct.
Example: Tears blurred her vision
Synonyms: indistinct, blurry, fuzzy, hazy, misty, foggy, shadowy
Antonyms: focus, sharpen, focalize, focalise

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