India posts its key diplomat to Taiwan:
- Gourangalal Das, currently Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, will be the next envoy to Taiwan.
- In what is being read as a strong impetus to its ties with Taiwan amid the border tensions with China, India has chosen a senior diplomat handling Indo-US relations as its new envoy to Taipei.
- India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan because of its One-China policy. It has an office in Taipei to carry out diplomatic functions. It operates under the name of the India-Taipei Association, and Das will be its new Director-General. He will replace Sridharan Madhusudhanan, also a career diplomat.
Taiwan's status in the world:
- Taiwan officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia.
- Its neighbours include China (officially the People’s Republic of China, PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.
- Taiwan is the most populous state that is not a member of the United Nations and the largest economy outside the UN.
Why is Taiwan important:
- In the global strategic scenario of the 21st century, China’s rise has made the Asia Pacific region the most dynamic part of Asia, and Beijing seems eager to challenge the erstwhile preeminent US role in this region. In these contexts, Taiwan could be viewed as the strategic lynchpin of the Asia Pacific region.
- Taiwan is Asia’s 5th and the world’s 16th-largest economy. It has the world’s 4th-largest foreign reserves, ranks 15th amongst the world trading nations, is the world’s 21st-largest foreign investor; is the world’s 3rd most attractive destination for foreign investment; and, being a global leader in chip manufacture and the second-largest manufacturer of IT hardware, etc., Taiwan is a ‘hi-tech’ superpower.
Significant for China
- Given Taiwan’s economic, financial and technological strengths and its location in the strategic heart of the Asia Pacific region, if China and Taiwan were reunified, China would take a quantum leap forward economically, financially, technologically, politically, militarily and strategically. This would dramatically narrow the strategically vital gap in all these spheres between China and the US.
- An enormous amount of globally significant trade passes through the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea – which is also believed to contain significant quantities of oil and gas.
- Taiwan is in actual physical possession of Itu Aba, the largest island in the Spratlys chain in the South China Sea. Therefore, Taiwan’s reunification with China would enable China to take control of the South China Sea, ensconce itself within ASEAN’s belly, have a vice-like grip over the vitally important sea lanes to Japan, Korea and the Pacific, and make China a maritime power in the Pacific Ocean – to which it has no direct access at present.
- In light of these facts, Taiwan’s reunification with China would dramatically transform the strategic geography of the Asia Pacific region. It will enable China to acquire a virtually unchallengeable strategic stranglehold over the entire region and for all practical purposes virtually eliminate all potential future strategic choices of regional countries. US security and strategic leverage in the region would also be gravely jeopardised if not crippled.
- For all these compelling reasons, Taiwan’s continued separate existence is of vital importance to the entire world to prevent China’s acquiring of virtually unchallengeable hegemony over the Asia Pacific region.
What is the One-China Policy?
- It is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government.
- Under the policy, any country that wants diplomatic relations with mainland China must break official ties with Taipei that it considers a ‘breakaway province.’
- First of all, India and Taiwan share similar values and there are no serious disputes between the two countries.
- India was the second non-Communist country to recognise the new People’s Republic of China, and since then, has been one of the strongest and particularly vocal supporters of the ‘One China’ concept as interpreted by the PRC.
- The areas of cooperation between India and Taiwan are bound to be limited so long as their political relations remain negligible.
- Since 1995, India-Taiwan relations have been improving gradually. Between 1995 and 2014, the bilateral trade turnover has grown manifold from just $934 million to $5.91 billion.
- Both sides have also expanded educational exchanges after a mutual degree recognition agreement in higher education was signed in 2010.
- In the field of science and technology, there are more than thirty ongoing government-funded joint research projects.
- In August 2015, the Taiwan-based Foxconn, one of the largest hardware manufacturers in the world, announced an investment of $5 billion in India.
- In order to further promote people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, in February 2010, Taiwan decided to grant visa-free entry to the Indians who hold valid visas or permanent residences for US, UK, Canada, Japan, Schengen Convention countries, Australia or New Zealand. On the other hand, India has recently added Taiwan to its e-tourist visa programme to simplify the visa application for Taiwanese visitors.
Significance of Taiwan for India:
- India-Taiwan relations are significant to India’s security interests.
- Taiwan is known for hardware manufacturing while India has an established software industry; some even refer ‘India and Taiwan’ as IT to indicate the fact that both countries complement each other.
- Taiwan has for long been a world leader in high-tech hardware manufacturing and is able to contribute much to the “Make in India”, “Digital India” and “Smart Cities” campaigns. Apparently, India is yet to explore Taiwan’s vast technological potential.
- Taiwan’s agro-technology and food processing technology will also be very beneficial for India’s agriculture sector.
Source: Indian express