Amidst the Russia-Ukraine conflict that has entered its fourth week, the world is slowly waking up to the threat of similar possible future events. Leading the speculation chart, China which is eyeing Taiwan from a long time and looking to make the island nation a part of its territory. Currently, Beijing claims Taiwan is a sovereign part of its ‘One China’ policy. However, if the world, especially India is to neuter China’s advances, it should start contesting the ‘One China’ policy.
The biggest step to contest China’s false policy is by banning Maps that show China and Taiwan as one and take further steps towards recognizing Taiwan a separate country altogether. But this should not come as a freebie to Taiwan and in return the Taiwanese govt. should recognize Arunachal, Ladakh, JnK as integral parts of India.
A lesson can be learnt from Japan which in 2021 took the decisive action to counter China. Reportedly, Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) in a white paper titled “Defense of Japan” removed Taiwan from a map of China for the first time and China couldn’t do much in retaliation.
Japan showed Taiwan as a sovereign nation
The white paper in its earlier editions had always shown Taiwan and China together, alluding to Taiwan as a territory of China. However, the last year’s version stresses the distinction between the two, indicating a change in policy by Japan Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the change and thanked Japan for highlighting the importance of “stabilizing the situation surrounding Taiwan” and paying “close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”
Map from 2021 edition showing Taiwan in gray. (“Defense of Japan” screenshot)
After the map went viral and Taiwanese government and nationals appreciated the move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Japan had “grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, groundlessly blamed China’s normal defense construction and military activity, pointed fingers at China’s maritime activity, and hyped up the so-called China threat, which is wrong and irresponsible.”
India for a long time accepted One China policy
China goes to great lengths to maintain the status quo regarding Taiwan on the global map. India initially for a long period accepted the One China policy. However, former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had made it clear that India’s stance on the matter was reciprocal.
She had remarked, “For India to agree to a one-China policy, China should reaffirm a one-India policy. It means that “One India” policy is an acknowledgment from Beijing that Arunachal Pradesh that is claimed by Beijing as South Tibet — is a part of India. When they raised with us the issue of Tibet and Taiwan, we shared their sensitivities regarding Arunachal Pradesh.”
Time for a change in stance
However, the Wuhan Virus gifted to the world by China has changed the dynamics of such an arrangement. Over the top is nuisance Beijing has created in the border areas of Ladakh near the LAC and its overall negative influence over the Indo-pacific. Thus, New Delhi cannot stay mum and allow China to get away with its dictatorial-undemocratic policies.
When the Taiwanese PM had wished Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday in 2020 –New Delhi had the golden chance to go for the kill by replying to the birthday wish of the leader. However, the Union Government chose to play safe and didn’t reply to the message.
Happy birthday to prime minister of India @narendramodi. Wishing you good health, happiness, & continued success in your leadership of the great nation of India.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) September 18, 2020
While such gestures can be deemed ultra-aggressive, the least New Delhi can do is start by banning One-China maps and slowly building from there. Later, the academia and literature in the books can be corrected to term Taiwan and Tibet as independent countries. India harbors dreams of becoming a superpower. However, to realize the dream, New Delhi has to get sterner in its approach in dealing with countries like China.
Defense relations potential with Taiwan
As China doesn’t respect the sovereignty of India and also uses Pak as a proxy for India and supplies arms, aircrafts and air defense systems by using anti-India sentiment already present in Pakistan. India should also reciprocate the favour and establish diplomatic as well as defense relations which will help India achieve its export targets.