Taiwan’s Relations with India: Partisan Divides

What do Taiwanese people think about burgeoning ties with India? To a large extent, it depends on their political affiliation.The Diplomat
Date: January 25, 2020
By: Timothy S. Rich, Andi Dahmer, Madelynn Einhorn, and Vasabjit Banerjee

Performers prepare for a dance as part of the “Incredible India” showcase at the Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan, Dec. 2, 2017.
Credit: Office of the President, ROC (Taiwan)

Taiwan’s relations with India have increased in breadth — spanning trade, research and academia — as well depth — trade ties amounted to $7.5 billion in 2019, up from $1 billion in 2000. The Taiwanese government has a representative office, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC), responsible for facilitating collaboration on education, tourism, culture, the media, and economic development. Taiwan’s increased investments have occurred in the face of cultural challenges, bureaucratic hurdles, and pressure on India from domestic producers.

Enhancing Taiwan-India relations is consistent with the Taiwanese government’s efforts to decrease economic reliance on China and with President Tsai Ing-wen’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), which improves upon the efforts of several of her predecessors. Taiwanese businesses are increasingly interested in shifting business ties from China to India and policies that facilitate such cooperation could provide mutual benefits. Taiwan’s goals are shared with those of successive Indian administrations, including that of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which seeks to increase ties with East Asian countries other than China. Modi has even suggested the possibility of a free trade agreement with Taiwan — through this decision is not without precedent as Taiwan maintains economic cooperation agreements (ECAs) with New Zealand and Singapore, both unofficial relationships.

Strengthening Taiwan-India ties within the rubric of the NSP also overlaps with Taiwan’s relationships with Australia, United States, and Japan. Because these three countries, along with India, have formed an Indo-Pacific entente cordiale called the “Quad” to maintain a rules-based order in the region, Taiwan-India ties can benefit from the positive synergy of collaboration in areas of trade, research, and even defense.  Moreover, India and Taiwan may see a convergence of security interests that could be further developed through interactions between the strategic communities on both sides.    [FULL  STORY]

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