By Liu Lulu
After the signing of the India-Taiwan memorandum of understanding to promote mutual industrial cooperation, Indian scholars recently suggested that it was “imperative to strengthen political and strategic engagement” between the two sides, which “cannot be dictated” by the mainland.
Although the Taiwan question is not an issue at the governmental level, some Indians have been relentlessly advising the Modi government to play the Taiwan card, using endorsement of the one-China policy as leverage with China. These calculations are beyond the economic sphere and extremely dangerous to Sino-Indian relations. Touting the Taiwan card, Indians seem to have forgotten that India itself has sensitive issues, such as complicated ethnic issues. It’s necessary to remind New Delhi that the one-China policy is the bottom line of China that India cannot afford to touch.
New Delhi is eager to attract investments from Taiwan, but the country must be wary of Tsai Ing-wen’s political purposes behind the collaboration. The Taiwan administration has been promoting investment in India’s telecommunications, steel and information technology. This is driven more by political than economic considerations.
Since assuming office, Tsai hasn’t yet acknowledged the 1992 Consensus and has been constantly touting her dangerous political agenda of “Taiwan independence.” The Taiwan administration under Tsai continues to seek external assistance to confront the mainland.
In 2016 Tsai put forward the New Southbound Policy, aiming to intensify Taiwan’s exchanges with Southeast Asia, South Asia and Oceania. The policy is an attempt to expand room for Taiwan’s pro-independence forces. The Taiwan administration is seeking to use Beijing-New Delhi border spats and India’s strategic vigilance toward China to unite with India and win pro-independence forces more opportunities to thrive.
New Delhi would be wrong if it believed the Taiwan card can be used to pressurize Beijing or even retaliate against it over the Doklam standoff. Challenging China’s bottom line and the one-China policy will bring serious consequences and ruin the achievements of the Sino-Indian relationship.
Some Indians regard China as a strategic rival and misinterpret China’s rise as a challenge to India’s regional status. Only by cooperation, instead of confrontation, can the two countries strengthen mutual trust, which conforms to the interests of both.
New Delhi should abandon geopolitical mentality and view ties with Beijing from a cooperative perspective. China and India highlighted the significance of border security on Friday. This is the right direction for Beijing-New Delhi interactions, and we hope both governments can seize this as an opportunity to improve their relations.
Playing Taiwan card dangerous for New Delhi
By Liu Lulu