Question: The current geopolitical situation allows greater opportunity for India to establish formal relationship with Taiwan. Critically analyse the cost and benefits of such initiative.
Answer: Taiwan is a sovereign territory present in the Western Pacific near the coast of China. China has always claimed Taiwan as its own territory and does not formally recognise it. In recent times, Taiwan has been the bone of contention between US and China.
- Under the One China policy, countries having formal ties with China are not allowed to recognise Taiwan.
- On global stage too, hardly any country has formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. It is not given the membership of UN or WHO.
- India’s diplomatic ties with China ensured that Taiwan never got any formal approval from the country.
Benefits of establishing relationship
- Pressure on China
India can use the Taiwan issue as a bargaining chip against China especially in border dispute. This can help in certain situation as a pressure tactic.
- Defence trade
India has a good opportunity to increase its defence ties vis-à-vis Taiwan. Due to the constant threats from China, Taiwan is looking at sophisticated defence weaponry.
- Economic benefits
Taiwan is famous for its electronic manufacturing units. This involves semiconductor chips, electronic consumer goods, agriculture goods etc. India can make use of the expertise.
- Degradation of ties with China
India’s ties with China never degraded even during border disputes. By establishing relations with Taiwan, India will initiate the degradation.
- Kashmir issue
China is likely to use the Kashmir issue as a counter to India’s recognition of Taiwan. China may further arm Pakistan to create unrest in the territory.
Thus, the Taiwan issue is not as simple as perceived. It will involve long lasting repercussions which have to be neutralized before taking such a step.