Calls for India to Play the Taiwan Card Grow Louder

As tensions simmer between New Delhi and Beijing, some have called for India to focus on developing stronger relations with Taiwan.

The Diplomat
Date: July 09, 2020
By: Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Credit: Pixabay

Amid the continuing border standoff, there is increasing public antagonism toward China in India. This matches growing anger among Indian elites toward China and India’s current China policy, which I wrote about last week. This is leading to more public discussion about possible asymmetric diplomatic strategies to challenge China, such as altering India’s “one China policy” to enhance India’s relations with Taiwan. 

For example, a prominent Indian national newspaper, Indian Express, editorialized in May that India should be pragmatic in considering the question of Taiwan’s observer status in the World Health Assembly: the decision “should not be made either out of peevishness or fear.” The editorial argued that New Delhi should judge the issue on “apolitical appreciation of the specific technical issues involved.” Thus, though the paper did not call for changing India’s general policy on China and Taiwan, it was a reflection of the growing debate about the general unhappiness with India’s ultra-cautious policy when it comes to China. 

Other opinions have been much more insistent. The Times of India, editorializing on the same issue, asked the government to “not shy away from supporting Taiwan.” The editorial went one step further than the Indian Express by saying that this should remain an important aspect of the reform of the World Health Organization (WHO). It also argued that India should stop being “overly deferential to Beijing” when China has routinely worked against Indian interests in the UN and other multilateral organizations. The Times of India concluded that “if Delhi is to get itself taken seriously, it must demonstrate that it can stand up and be counted.”  

It should be noted that this is not the first time that the Times of India has taken such a stand on Taiwan. In 2019, in the wake of Chinese threats to Taiwan, the paper put out an editorial arguing that India should step up its cooperation with Taiwan. It also made reference to a 2018 Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee report on India-China relations, which called for stronger partnership between India and Taiwan, adding that it was strange that India has shied away from cooperating with Taiwan, whereas Taipei and Beijing had active trade and investment ties despite their political disagreements.     [FULL  STORY]

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