Topic Of The Day:-“Decolonising Chagos”

Britain must honour the ICJ opinion on returning the islands to Mauritius

The stunning opinion of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, that Britain’s continued administration of the Chagos archipelago is unlawful, is a landmark in the effort to decolonise the Indian Ocean and return the islands to Mauritius. Britain’s reaction, however, was predictable and disappointing. It said the ICJ’s is an advisory opinion it will examine, and stressed the security significance of the islands. Since the late-1960s, the U.S. has maintained a military base on one of them, Diego Garcia. In 2016, Britain extended the lease to the U.S. till 2036 even as it said it would return the islands to Mauritius when no longer needed for defence purposes. Mauritius has made it clear that it does not intend to jeopardise the future of the military base. The agreement to allow Britain to administer the Chagos islands came in 1965, three years before Mauritius gained independence. Mauritius says Britain had made it a pre-condition for independence. This was endorsed by the ICJ, which noted that given the imbalance between the two, the agreement did not amount to “freely expressed and genuine will”. It is a damning assessment of colonial legacies and the attempt by former colonial powers to justify or ignore the indefensible on the basis of ‘agreements’.

Britain has tried to block Mauritius’s claim to the islands at every stage, first by attempting to defeat a UN General Assembly vote in 2017 calling on the ICJ to deliver its opinion. When it lost this, London questioned the court’s jurisdiction and Mauritius’s version of how the deal had been thrashed out. However, Mauritius has had many countries on its side, including India. In written and oral submissions before the court, India has insisted that historical facts were not with Britain’s interpretation and that its continued administration of the islands meant the process of decolonisation had not been completed. In an ideal world, Britain would be compelled to hand the islands to Mauritius. However, as the opinion against the construction of the separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2003 demonstrates, ICJ advisories are not always acted on. At the very least, Britain should show it respects the court’s view and Mauritius’s sovereignty, and make significant concessions — starting with matters ranging from fishing rights to compensation for the Chagossians, who have suffered through all of this. The ICJ ‘opinion’ draws the line on what is expected from Britain for it to be a global nation in tune with the new world order. It announces that the world has moved on from passive acceptance of the injustices of


1) calibrated

Meaning : (of an instrument) marked with a scale of readings(adj).

Tamil Meaning : சீரமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது

Synonyms : adjust

Antonyms : ignore

Example : “the position of a pointer on a calibrated scale”

2) manifest

Meaning : clear or obvious to the eye or mind(adj).

Synonyms : palpable

Antonyms : hidden

Example : “her manifest charm and proven ability”

3) diplomatic

Meaning : of or concerning diplomacy(adj).

Synonyms : gracious

Antonyms : rude

Example : “diplomatic relations with Britain were broken”

4) pre-emptive

Meaning : serving or intended to pre-empt or forestall something, especially to prevent attack by disabling the enemy(adj).

Tamil Meaning : முன்கூட்டிய

Synonyms : preventative

Antonyms : reactive

Example : “a pre-emptive strike”

5) imminent

Meaning : about to happen(adj).

Tamil Meaning : உடனடி

Synonyms : immediate

Antonyms : avoidable

Example : “they were in imminent danger of being swept away”

6) ensured

Meaning : make certain that (something) will occur or be the case(v).

Tamil Meaning : உறுதி

Synonyms : assure

Antonyms : endanger

Example : “the client must ensure that accurate records are kept”

7) escalatory

Meaning : increase rapidly(v).

Tamil Meaning : அதிகரிக்கும்

Synonyms : mount

Antonyms : decline

Example : “the price of tickets escalated”

8) aggression

Meaning : feelings of anger or antipathy resulting in hostile or violent behaviour(n); readiness to attack or confront.

Tamil Meaning : ஆக்கிரமிப்பு

Synonyms : assault

Example : “his chin was jutting with aggression”

9) exhausted

Meaning : (of resources or reserves) completely used up(adj).

Tamil Meaning : தீர்ந்துவிட்டது

Synonyms : disabled

Antonyms : active

Example : “Kirov spat, his patience suddenly exhausted”

10) curbing

Meaning : restrain or keep in check(v).

Tamil Meaning : கட்டுப்படுத்து

Synonyms : barrier

Antonyms : inside

Example : “she promised she would curb her temper”

11) retaliatory

Meaning : (of an action) characterized by a desire for revenge(adj).

Tamil Meaning : பதிலடி

Synonyms : penal

Antonyms : beneficial

Example : “fears of a retaliatory attack by the victim’s friends”

12) restraint

Meaning : a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control(n).

Synonyms : caution

Antonyms : assistance

Example : “decisions are made within the financial restraints of the budget”

13) convened

Meaning : come or bring together for a meeting or activity; assemble(v).

Tamil Meaning : கூட்டப்பட்ட

Synonyms : gather

Antonyms : disperse

Example : “he had convened a secret meeting of military personnel”

14) obviate

Meaning : remove (a need or difficulty)(v).

Tamil Meaning : அகற்றிட

Synonyms : preclude

Antonyms : support

Example : “the presence of roller blinds obviated the need for curtains”

15) unleashed

Meaning : release (a dog) from a leash(v).

Synonyms : free

Antonyms : hold

Example : “they dig up badger setts and unleash terriers into them”

16) deterrents

Meaning : a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something(n).

Synonyms : hindrance

Antonyms : assistance

Example : “cameras are a major deterrent to crime”

17) predictable

Meaning : able to be predicted(adj).

Tamil Meaning : யூகிக்கக்கூடிய

Synonyms : certain

Antonyms : improbable

Example : “the market is volatile and never predictable”

18) intend

Meaning : have (a course of action) as one’s purpose or intention; plan(v).

Synonyms : contemplate

Antonyms : disbelieve

Example : “the company intends to cut 400 jobs”

19) endorsed

Meaning : declare one’s public approval or support of.

Tamil Meaning : ஒப்புதல்

Synonyms : approved

Antonyms : discouraged

Example : “the report was endorsed by the college”

20) damning

Meaning : (of a circumstance or piece of evidence) strongly suggesting guilt or error(adj).

Synonyms : incriminating

Example : “I was innocent but the evidence was damning”

21) assessment

Meaning : the action of assessing someone or something.

Tamil Meaning : மதிப்பீடு

Synonyms : estimate

Example : “the assessment of educational needs”

22) thrashed

Meaning : beat (a person or animal) repeatedly and violently with a stick or whip(v).

Synonyms : crush

Antonyms : inspirit

Example : “she thrashed him across the head and shoulders”

23) interpretation

Meaning : the action of explaining the meaning of something(n).

Synonyms : analysis

Antonyms : complication

Example : “the interpretation of data”

24) concessions

Meaning : a thing that is granted, especially in response to demands(n).

Synonyms : permit

Antonyms : denial

Example : “the government was unwilling to make any further concessions”

25) sovereignty

Meaning : supreme power or authority(n).

Synonyms : dominance

Antonyms : submission

Example : “the sovereignty of Parliament”

26) insisted

Meaning : demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal(v).

Tamil Meaning : வலியுறுத்தினார்

Synonyms : assert

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “she insisted on carrying her own bag”

27) indefensible

Meaning : not justifiable by argument(adj).

Synonyms : untenable

Antonyms : defensible

Example : “this behaviour is morally indefensible”

28) colonise

Meaning : send settlers to (a place) and establish political control over it(v).

Synonyms : conquer

Antonyms : stay

Example : “the Greeks colonized Sicily and southern Italy”

29) determined

Meaning : having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it(adj).

Synonyms : decisive

Antonyms : irresolute

Example : “Alina was determined to be heard”

30) restrained

Meaning : characterized by reserve or moderation; unemotional or dispassionate(adj).

Synonyms : discreet

Antonyms : extroverted

Example : “his restrained, gentlemanly voice”