English Reading Comprehension with Detailed Explanation – IBPS, SSC Exams (Day-18):
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Direction (1-10): Read the passage below and answer the following questions.
The dichotomy in the rule-based global order is becoming increasingly evident with the passage of time. U.S. President Donald Trump, for instance, makes no secret of the fact that he believes in a world governed by self-interest, with little room for shared responsibility, or lofty ideas about the spread of democracy. In contrast, Chinese President Xi Jinping is taking the high road, disdaining the transactional approach favoured by the U.S. President. Instead, he is projecting himself as a firm believer in globalisation and free trade. It is against this backdrop that there are signs of a new bipolarity taking shape in Asia. It appears freshly sculpted, given the steady rise and rise of China in Asia. It possibly seeks to replace similar attempts by the U.S. previously — such as the pivot to Asia — to counter China and its aggressive designs in the region. Implicitly, though not as yet explicitly, it seeks to create a coalition of all those willing to align with the U.S. against China’s expanding ambitions and its inexorable march towards dominance in Asia.
In recent weeks, there has been some activity suggestive of action being taken to achieve this objective. For instance, a reluctant India is being gradually inveigled into a newly minted design of what many perceive as an anti-China coalition, though none of them are willing to project it as such. Talks held recently at the level of officials between the U.S., Japan, Australia and India (the Quadrilateral) are seen as an indication of this. As China’s expansionist attitudes intensify, more countries in East and Southeast Asia are expected to align with the Quadrilateral group of countries. The recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings provided a further glimpse of attitudinal changes that are in the making. Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made use of this occasion to announce that the two countries were prepared to work together for the future of Asia — an euphemism for what many see as keeping a check on China’s aggressive designs in the region. It is, perhaps, for the first time that India has indicated a resolve to align openly with the U.S. to tackle broader issues in the Indo-Pacific region. Its implications go much further than mere deepening of the strategic partnership between the two countries or enhancing their cooperation as major defence partners. The reference that “two of the world’s great democracies should also have the world’s greatest militaries” is capable of being interpreted in several ways, including that it is aimed at China. Mr. Modi demonstrated a willingness on this occasion to go still further, asserting that India will stand by ASEAN in its quest for a rules-based regional security architecture. This can again be interpreted as implicit criticism of China’s attitude and stance with regard to disputes in the South China Sea.
If China was the target of the U.S., India and other like-minded countries of Asia, the recent 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress signified that China is more than willing to accept the challenge. The Party Congress placed special emphasis on a strong military “capable of winning wars”. The deliberations left little room for any adjustment or compromise to accommodate the concerns of other countries of Asia, or for that matter the U.S. If anything, the deliberations of the Party Congress have further emboldened China to pursue its preferred course of action. The Congress reinforced Mr. Xi’s status as the paramount leader, who in turn made no secret of China’s ambitions to restore its global leadership and dominate the region. The Party Congress, and Mr. Xi in particular, adopted a hard line on many of the issues that have been bones of contention with countries in the region and beyond. A major preoccupation of the Party Congress was to build global combat capabilities to safeguard China’s overseas interests. It mentioned that the Chinese Military had been reorganised and that more changes were promised in the next five years aiming to make China’s military “world class” in every way. The reality also is that apart from its massive military build-up, China is positioned most advantageously as far as economic aspects are concerned. It is today the most important trading partner for over 90 countries. It is a major lender across the world. Its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has caught the imagination of the world, including that of Europe. While the economic benefits of the BRI are still in dispute, most countries of Asia and Europe, including many of India’s neighbours, do not seem to have a problem with the BRI.
Sustaining bipolarity and having one set of Asian nations ranged against China is, however, not going to be easy in the prevailing circumstances. Latent concerns about Chinese expansionism have not prevented several Asian nations from endorsing and backing the BRI. Most Asian nations also show no inclination or desire to blame China for siding with Pakistan, which continues to shelter high-ranking global terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. China, for its part, has embarked on a charm offensive to win the support of Asian nations through lavish aid offers and other financial inducements. Even Mr. Trump, during his recent visit to China, seemed to have softened his criticism of China, after China produced some attractive mega deals. All this only exposes the vulnerabilities of bipolarity in the extant situation today. As the outlines of a new bipolarity in Asia become clearer, and with the formal setting up of the Quadrilateral, China is certain to regard all this as an attempt to encircle it. This will pave the way for a new round of turmoil. China is almost certain to take effective steps to break this so-called encirclement, and use both force and inducements to win more and more Asian countries to its side. The consequences of this could be quite significant for peace and stability in the Asian region.
- What does the US President Donald Trump believes in?
- He believes in the spread of democracy through lofty ideas.
- He believes in globalisation and free trade.
- III. He believes in a world governed by self-interest.
- Only I and II
- Only I
- Only II and III
- Only III
- Only I and III
- Which of the following statements cannot be inferred from the passage?
- India and U.S. are two of the world’s great democracies.
- China’s expanding ambitions are a cause of worry for the U.S. and India.
- China’s global ambitions have restored its position as a global leader.
- Most Asian countries and Europe have appreciated the One Belt One Road Initiative of China.
- All of the given statements are true.
- What did the recently held 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress signified?
- China will not comprise its initiative to restore its global leadership.
- China’s military is ‘world class’ and capable of winning wars.
- China wants to form a coalition with the U.S. and other nations for its shared interests.
- Only I and II
- Only I and III
- Only II
- Only II and III
- All of the above
- Which of the following statements can be inferred from the passage?
- The U.S. and the Chinese Presidents believe in globalisation and free trade.
- India and U.S. have partnered to tackle issues in the Indo-Pacific region and in defence sector.
- The Belt and Road Initiative of China has led to dispute with Europe.
- Most Asian nations blame China for siding with Pakistan.
- None of these
- Which of the following can be a suitable title of the passage?
- The new bipolarity in Asia
- China – The global leader
- An upcoming war
- The Quadrilateral
- None of these
- Which of the following is most similar to the word ‘dichotomy’ as used in the context of the passage?
- What is the tone of the author in the passage?
- Which of the following is most opposite to the word ‘turmoil’ as used in the context of the passage?
- What are the initiative(s) taken by China to realise its expanding ambitions and dominance in Asia?
- Belt and Road Initiative
- World Class Military
- Trade Relationships
- Attractive mega deals
- All of the above
- Which of the following is most similar to the word ‘paramount’ as used in the context of the passage?