India is taking quantum leaps towards dumping the “One China Policy”, which is often paraded around by the CCP as an inhibitory factor between the international community growing excessive bilateral relations with Taiwan. India too was a silent party to the said policy, which as recently as 2016, clouded the geopolitical judgement of a few. However, in 2020, we are rightfully dumping the same.
Two BJP MP’s, Meenakshi Lekhi and Rahul Kaswan attended the swearing-in ceremony of incumbent Taiwan President, Tsai Ing-wen, who won her second term only recently. Tsai was sworn in for her second term on Wednesday and Lekhi and Kaswan were among 92 other dignitaries from 41 countries who virtually attended the ceremony via video conferencing.
The two senior BJP MP’s were accompanied by Sohang Sen, the acting Director General of the India-Taipei Association, an informal Indian Mission in Taiwan, if it may be called so. Sohang joined the ceremony in Taipei.
Importantly, the two MP’s in their joint congratulatory message to President Tsai did not shy away from using words like ‘democracies’ and ‘bilateral relations’. “Both India and Taiwan are democratic countries, bonded by shared values of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. Over the past years, India and Taiwan have enhanced bilateral relations enormously in wide-ranging areas, especially trade, investment and people to people exchanges,” said the two MPs during their video message, as reported by ThePrint.
In a separate message, Meenakshi Lekhi spoke about further strengthening the comprehensive relations between India and Taiwan. Inevitably, the Chinese Communist Party was irked, or rather outraged by the extravagant acceptance which Taiwan seems to be gaining as an autonomous and sovereign country among the international community.
“We hope and believe that … [they will] understand and support the just cause of Chinese people to oppose the secessionist activities for ‘Taiwan independence’ and realise national reunification,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.
Interestingly, in 2016, the Modi government had pulled out from President Tsai’s swearing-in ceremony at the very last moment, perhaps not wanting to irk China back then. However, Modi 2.0 is quite different.
In a clear departure from our earlier reluctance to openly be seen inclining with Taiwan, lest India be seen working in contrast to the One China Policy, PM Modi has now taken the bull by its horns, and decided to go all out in recognizing Taiwan as a nation which is separate from China.
However, to say that PM Modi in his previous tenure was completely indifferent towards the existence of Taiwan as an independent country would be a wrong assessment. Taiwan invested $360 million in 2018 in India through its companies, an increase of 12 times over what it invested in 2016. Meanwhile, India-Taiwan bilateral trade volume grew from $1 billion in 2000 to $7.5 billion in 2019, a six-times increase!
Only recently, in the backdrop of the CoVID-19 pandemic, certain Chinese companies, at the behest of their political masters, had signalled that they would not shy away from hostile takeovers of Indian companies. This prompted an unprecedented counter-action by the Modi government, which banned direct access for Chinese companies to Indian markets, and made it mandatory for such companies to get government approvals for Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPIs) and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). However, Taiwan was exempted from the same, which came as a bold statement from the Modi government, that China and Taiwan are not one and shall be treated as separate entities by India hereafter.
China, on expected lines, has started behaving like a headless chicken, not knowing what struck them from India. In their sheer desperation, the Chinese Communist Party, like small-time street gangs, began issuing statements against Indian media outlets like WION, Times of India and The Hindu, for giving space to influential voices from Taiwan.
Taiwan, which has emerged as a leading model for how the world ought to tackle the CoVID-19 pandemic, had only early this month donated 1 million facial masks to India, in order to aid India’s frontline medical workers who were leading our fight against the Chinese pandemic.
What we are therefore seeing is a new vigour in the bilateral relations between India and Taiwan. In a matter of four years, India went from a state of not sending its dignitaries to the swearing in of Tsai Ing-wen, to roping in the likes of Lekhi and Keswan to attend the same now. Effectively, India seems to have trashed the much touted One China Policy, and is finally growing warm relations with Taiwan, which is currently under the rule of President Tsai, a vocal and fearless critic of China’s repeated attempts at illegally annexing Taiwan and replicating the Hong Kong model of “One Country, Two Systems” framework over Taipei.