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Diplomacy

Avoid Unilateral Actions, Says India on China-Taiwan Crisis

On the 'One China' policy, India retained its decades-old position of not mentioning it aloud but asserting that it remains consistent.

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New Delhi: Amidst calls by Beijing to maintain the ‘One China’ policy after the US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, India on Friday said that its policies are well-known and do not require reiteration, even as New Delhi called for parties to avoid unilateral actions that could change status quo in the region.

Addressing a press briefing, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that like many other countries, India too is concerned about recent developments. “We urge the exercise of restraint, avoidance of unilateral actions to change status quo, de-escalation of tensions and efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region. India’s relevant policies are well-known and consistent. They do not require reiteration,” he said.

Under the ‘One China’ policy, a country does not recognise Taiwan, which was formed by fleeing nationalists in 1949 as a sovereign, separate entity. They only acknowledge the People’s Republic of China, created by the Communist Party of China.

Ever since Pelosi’s visit to Taipei on August 2, China has expanded live fire drills surrounding Taiwan as an unprecedented military and political warning against outside interference over the self-ruled island, which China claims. It has also asked countries to reiterate the ‘One China’ policy, with the Chinese ambassador to India saying in an interview that he hopes New Delhi will continue to support this principle.

He claimed that the principle is a “universal consensus of the international community” and the foundation of China’s bilateral relations with other countries. “It is the core of China’s interests and a red line and bottom line that cannot be crossed. India was among the first countries to recognise that there is one China,” he said.

New Delhi has stuck to its decades-old policy of never explicitly mentioning the ‘One China’ principle but saying that its views remain consistent.

Nearly 160 countries, including all of India’s immediate neighbours – Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Pakistan – have all expressed support for the ‘One China’ policy, according to Chinese state media.

Relations between India and China have suffered since a clash along the disputed Line of Actual Control border in Easter Ladakh in 2020 killed 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese soldiers. Troop deployments remain high on both sides despite military and diplomatic-level talks to defuse the situation.

India has been promoting ties with Taiwan in areas of trade, investment, tourism, culture, education and people-to-people exchanges.

The volume of bilateral trade has grown nearly sixfold from $1.19 billion in 2001 to almost $7.05 billion in 2018 and India ranks as Taiwan’s 14th largest export destination and 18th largest source of imports, according to official data.

By end of 2018, around 106 Taiwanese companies were operating in India, with the total investment amounting to $1.5 billion in the fields of information and communication technology, medical devices, automobile components, machinery, steel, electronics, construction, engineering and financial services.

The two sides have also set up teams for further expansion of ties in education as well as skill development training.

India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but both sides have trade and people-to-people ties.

In 1995, New Delhi set up India-Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei to promote interactions between the two sides and facilitate business, tourism and cultural exchanges.

The ITA has also been authorised to provide all consular and passport services. The same year, Taiwan too established the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Delhi.