External Affairs

India Dismisses Chinese Protest Against Taiwanese Delegation’s Visit

The external affairs ministry said there was nothing new or unusual about such visits and hence political meanings should not be read into them.

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Indian external affairs ministry has said that there was no cause for the Chinese protests since similar groups of delegations had made trips to the mainland as well. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: India on Wednesday dismissed Chinese protest against the visit of a parliamentary delegation from Taiwan, claiming that there was nothing “new or unusual” and no political meaning should be read into it.

The Taiwanese delegation, which included two MPs, arrived in India over the weekend and interacted with some of their Indian counterparts and members of civil society.

Since India has committed to the One China policy, it does not maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. However, they maintain representation in each other’s territory – the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre located in New Delhi and India-Taipei Association in Taipei city.

According to PTI, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that “China lodged representations with India” over the visit of the delegation.

Shuang said that “those who are visiting India are so called legislators from Taiwan,” adding that China opposes any official contacts between Taiwan and other countries.

“We hope that India would understand and respect China’s core concerns and stick to the One China principle and prudently deal with Taiwan-related issues and maintain sound and steady development of India-China relations,” the spokesperson said.

Later, Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup noted that there was no cause for the Chinese protests since similar groups of delegations had made trips to the mainland too.

“We understand that a group of Taiwanese academics and business persons, including a couple of legislators, is visiting India. Such informal groups have visited India in the past as well for business, religious and tourist purposes. I understand that they do so to China as well,” said Swarup.

“There is nothing new or unusual about such visits and political meanings should not be read into them,” he added.

The Chinese state-run tabloid, Global Times, published an op-ed on February 14, asserting that “By challenging China over the Taiwan question, India is playing with fire”.

“At a time when new US President Donald Trump has put the brakes on challenging China over the Taiwan question, agreeing to change course and respecting the One China policy, India stands out as a provocateur,” said the Global Times article.

Last December, Trump had raised doubts about his administration’s commitment to the One China policy during his telephonic conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. However, he reiterated the US’s belief in the One China policy after his phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on February 9, which had apparently been delayed by China to express their annoyance at Trump’s dalliance with the Taiwanese president.

In recent joint statements by India and China, the absence of a mention of the One China policy has been notable. At the same time, Indian diplomats have often brought up India’s commitment to the One China policy to persuade Beijing to have a One India policy in relation to separate visas for residents of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Even in today’s reaction, the spokesperson avoided a mention of the ‘one china policy’, though India continues to implement it by action.