English Vocab

The confluence of two seas
The endeavour (a strenuous effort) of India, Japan and US to connect the Pacific and Indian Oceans could be an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and enhance the bargaining power of small countries vis-a-vis Beijing.
Three developments in the last few days have set the stage for some real competition for promoting connectivity in Asia and opened up fresh opportunities for India to shape the outcomes. Only a few
months ago, Delhi seemed alone in opposing China’s trillion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that has been viewed with awe around the world and enthusiastically embraced by most of its neighbours in the region. Now Delhi may be in a position to work with its partners — especially Japan and the US — to offer a credible alternative to the BRI.
When Beijing convened a high-level international gathering last May to seek political endorsement of the BRI last May, India refused to participate at any level despite much diplomatic pressure from China. Instead it offered a stinging (A hurtful quality or effect) public rebuke (An expression of sharp disapproval or criticism). Arguing that projects under China’s BRI have not met international norms for infrastructure development, Delhi insisted that the “connectivity initiative must follow principles of financial responsibility to avoid projects that would create unsustainable debt burden for communities; balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards; transparent assessment of project costs; skill and technology transfer to help long term running and maintenance of the assets created by local communities.” Delhi also affirmed (State emphatically or publicly) that “connectivity projects must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity” of other states.
At home, critics of the government fretted (Be constantly or visibly anxious) that Delhi might be isolating itself on the BRI. They pointed to the fact that even Japan and the United States, which were wary of China’s BRI, had sent representatives to the Beijing conference. Since then, though, much water has flown under the bridge (problems that someone has had in the past that they do not worry about because they happened a long time ago and cannot now be changed). The US and Japan have supported Delhi’s criticism of the BRI during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India in September. Delhi, Tokyo and Washington have also begun a serious conversation on working together on Indo-Pacific infrastructure development.
But first to the three recent developments that underline the growing political momentum behind the BRI and the prospects for finding an alternative. Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power at the just-concluded 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party lends new momentum to his signature external project — the Belt and Road Initiative — that seeks to connect Europe and Asia as well as the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In a measure of the project’s importance and Xi’s current dominance over the party, the 19th Congress has agreed to write the BRI into the CCP’s constitution.
Meanwhile, the return of Prime Minister Abe with a sweeping (of wide range or scope) mandate in the snap general elections to the lower house of the Japanese parliament on Sunday should help reinforce Tokyo’s own programme to promote connectivity in Asia. In 2015, Abe had announced the partnership for quality infrastructure (PQI) with a fund of nearly $110 billion. In an enhanced version of the initiative announced in 2016, Japan plans to spend about $200 billion during the next five years on infrastructure projects around the world. Unlike China, Japan brings much greater experience in executing development projects in third world countries and is offering much better terms for its assistance.
Well before Xi announced the BRI in 2013, Abe had unveiled a new vision of regional connectivity. During his first term as prime minister, Abe visited India in 2007 and in his address to Parliament talked about “confluence (An act or process of merging) of the two seas”. More recently, he expanded on the concept by talking about a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”. It now calls for connecting “two continents” — Asia and Africa — and “two oceans” — the Indian and Pacific through trans-border connectivity corridors.
In a major speech last week, the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, outlined a strongcritique (A detailed analysis and assessment of something) of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Describing China’s development assistance as “predatory economics”, Tillerson accused Beijing of undermining the sovereignty of its neighbours in Asia. He echoed India’s criticism of the BRI by saying China’s projects burden host countries with large debt and conditions that force a swap of debt for equity and strategic control of assets.
India has every reason to be pleased that its views on the BRI are finding resonance. But it is not enough to win the argument against the BRI. What India needs is to provide a real alternative. Delhi has seen countries like Sri Lanka and Burma express political reservations against some of the Chinese infrastructure projects, suspend some of them, but eventually renew the engagement with Beijing.
Tillerson, for example, recognised that “many Indo-Pacific nations have limited alternatives when it comes to infrastructure investment programmes and financing schemes, which often fail to promote jobs or prosperity for the people they claim to help. It’s time to expand transparent, high-standard regional lending mechanisms — tools that will actually help nations instead of saddle them with mounting debt. India and the United States must lead the way in growing these multilateral efforts.”
The US has also begun to put some money down for infrastructure development in the region. Tillerson pointed to the $500-million agreement between Washington and Kathmandu that will “invest in infrastructure to meet growing electricity and transportation needs in Nepal and promote trade linkages with partners in the region like India”. He also revealed that the US has begun consultations with other countries in the region about providing alternative financial mechanisms to China’s BRI.
India’s emphasis in the coming days must be three-fold. One is to press ahead vigorously with the large number of infrastructure projects that it has undertaken with its own resources in the Subcontinent and the Indian Ocean. Second is to intensify the current discussions with the US, Japan, Europe and other partner countries to coordinate their regional infrastructure initiatives as well as take up joint projects in the Indo-Pacific. Third, Delhi must quickly find ways to overcome its many institutional limitations in implementing projects in other countries.
Offering an alternative to China’s BRI is not about a zero-sum (outcomes of a dispute or negotiation.) rivalry with Beijing. By demonstrating the possibility for sustainable infrastructure development, Delhi and its partners can improve the bargaining capacity of smaller countries vis-a-vis China and might eventually encourage Beijing to discard its predatory geoeconomics and turn the BRI into a genuinely cooperative venture.

1. Endeavour (noun) : (a strenuous effort; attempt) (प्रयत्न करना)
Synonyms: Struggle, Undertaking, Aim
Example:  The website goes further and tells how you can support this endeavor by becoming a producer.
Origin: Late Middle English (in the sense ‘exert oneself’): from the phrase put oneself in devoir ‘do one's utmost’ (see devoir).
2. Rebuke (verb): (An expression of sharp disapproval or criticism.; Express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behaviour or actions) (डाँट डपट)
Synonyms: Admonition, Censure, Rebuff
Example: She had rebuked him for drinking too much.
Verb Forms: Rebuke, Rebuked, Rebuked
Related words: rebukable, adjective
rebuker, noun
rebukingly, adverb
3. Stinging (adjective): (A hurtful quality or effect)
Synonyms: Bitter, Caustic, Penetrating
Antonyms: Blunt, Bland
Example: I recalled the sting of his betrayal.
Related words: stingingly, adverb
stingless, adjective
outsting, verb (used with object)
4. Affirmed (verb): (State emphatically or publicly) (पुष्टि करना; प्रतिज्ञान करना)
Synonyms: State, Assert, Aver, Proclaim, Pronounce, Attest
Example: They affirmed that policies were to be judged by their contribution to social justice.
Verb Forms: Affirm, Affirmed, Affirmed
Related words: affirmable, adjective
affirmably, adverb
affirmer, noun
affirmingly, adverb
overaffirm, verb
5. Fretted (verb): (Be constantly or visibly anxious) (चिन्ता प्रकट करना)
Synonyms: Chafe, Agonize, Buzz
Example: She fretted about the cost of groceries
Verb Forms: Fret, Fretted, Fretted
Related words: fretter, noun
6. Water has flown under the bridge (idiom): (problems that someone has had in the past that they do not worry about because they happened a long time ago and cannot now be changed)
Example: Yes, we did have our disagreements but that's water under the bridge now.
7. Sweeping (adjective): (of wide range or scope) (व्यापक)
Synonyms: Encompassing, Radical, Wholesome
Antonym: Restricted, Narrow
Example: The government plans to give sweeping powers to a wide range of organisations to spy on us.
Related words: sweepingly, adverb
8. Confluence (noun): (An act or process of merging) (मेल)
Synonyms: Assemblage, Junction
Example: A major confluence of the world's financial markets
Origin: Late Middle English: from late Latin confluentia, from Latin confluere ‘flow together’
9. Critique (noun): (A detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory.)
Synonyms: Appraisal, Editorial, Assessment
Antonym: Compliment, Flattery
Example: You'll find reviews of the latest literary fiction, along with critiques of the work.
Origin: Mid 17th century (as a noun): from French, based on Greek kritikē tekhnē ‘critical art’.
10. Zero-sum (phrase): (Zero Zero-sum, positive-sum, and negative-sum are all game theory terms that refer to the outcomes of a dispute or negotiation. In a zero-sum situation, it is impossible for one party to advance its position without the other party suffering a corresponding loss.)
Example: Poker and gambling are popular examples of Zero- Sum Game.
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