Taiwan-India ties have reached a new high, while its location is favorable for Taiwanese businesses to establish production bases, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Chung-kwang (田中光) said yesterday.
The Taiwan-India relationship has come a long way, with tepid bilateral ties in the first two decades after Taipei and New Delhi established representative offices in 1995, Tien said at an event hosted by the Taiwan-India Parliamentary Friendship Association at the legislature in Taipei.
It is noteworthy that India’s new representative to Taiwan, India Taipei Association Director-General Gourangalal Das, was a department head at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs prior to his move to Taipei in July, Tien said.
Historically, Indian representatives to Taiwan would head a ministry department only after finishing a stint here and the new order shows that New Delhi has attached greater importance to its relationship with Taipei, he said.
With the government’s New Southbound Policy, India is a good place for Taiwanese businesses to build production bases, given its democracy, ample human resources and strategically important location, Tien said.
Resentment over China has been rising in India, not just because of a decades-long border conflict, but also because of China’s aggressive expansion in South Asia, its bullying of other countries and its dissemination of COVID-19, he told the Taipei Times on the sidelines of the event.
“The wind is beginning to blow” in Indian society, he said.
Taiwan’s success in containing the pandemic and medical aid to India put the nation in sharp contrast with China, Tien said.
Das expressed admiration for Taiwan’s effective response to the pandemic, as well as its economic and technological strengths.
Taiwan’s unique position in global supply chains can be leveraged to serve India’s ambition to become the next main manufacturing hub in a rapidly evolving supply chain landscape, Das said.
India’s start-up ecosystem can join hands with the best of Taiwan to find the perfect match of hardware and software firms, he said, adding that smart agriculture, precision medicine, skills training and industrial automation are also areas for greater collaboration.
The warming ties between Taiwan, India and the US herald new opportunities for Taiwanese businesses, especially in the electronics industry, Taiwan ASEAN Studies Center director Kristy Hsu (徐遵慈) said.
With Harsh Vardhan, an Indian, being named chairman of the WHO Executive Board, hopefully Taiwan and India can make more joint contributions to the health body, said Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴), who is chairwoman of the Taiwan-India Parliamentary Friendship Association.
Separately, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) in an interview with India Today on Thursday said that the nation hopes to advance ties with India.
Asked if Taiwan hopes to join an expanded Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Joseph Wu said that the nation is watching developments.
Taiwan has traditionally had good relationships with the US, Japan and Australia — which are involved in the dialogue — while ties with India are “getting better and better,” he said.
“Therefore, we certainly hope that Taiwan can start thinking about how we can work with all these countries that are taking part in the Quad discussions,” he said.
Asked if he expects the Indian government to recognize Taiwan “not just as a partner, but as a nation,” Joseph Wu said that the two sides can develop closer economic, supply-chain restructuring and health ties.
As the nation is excluded from many international forums, Taiwan also hopes to make further contributions to the international community by working with India, he said.
“We certainly hope that the Indian government can look at Taiwan with more seriousness and the two sides can work further with each other,” he said.
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