Taiwan Holds Trade, Investment Talks With Maharashtra

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New Delhi, 8 Aug 2021: Keen to expand their footprint in the western coastline states of India, a delegation of Taiwanese officials met Members of Parliament (MP) from Maharashtra and held discussions on ways to strengthen economic, trade, technological, and cultural ties with the state. Taiwan which has made significant inroads in the states of Karnataka, and Telangana is now eyeing the third largest state in the country.


While the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) in New Delhi did not share any official release on this meeting, it uploaded a post accompanied with a photograph on its official social media accounts announcing the talks with the MPs. The social media post, uploaded on 6 August read ‘Very fruitful discussions with MPs Unmesh Patil, Rahul Shewale, and Hemant Patil.’ It added that ‘Looking forward to closer ties between Taiwan and India in general as well as Taiwan and Maharashtra in particular.’


Sources informed that the two-hour-long meeting featured in-depth talks on trade, finance, technology, education, agriculture, and tourism. The TECC delegation, comprising of five senior officials, was led by Director General Baushuan Ger, who arrived in India in October of last year. Sources added that the MPs from Maharashtra apprised the TECC delegation on the various investment opportunities, and avenues in the state as well as highlighted the policy measures adopted to improve ease of doing business.


According to officials, the TECC officials were very impressed by the projects presented by the MPs and assured to examine every proposal in detail with a bid to forge bilateral ties with Maharashtra. “The tiding geopolitical situation in the region, coupled with the security concerns from a neighboring nation has compelled India to look for an alternative for its economic and trade ties. India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now expedited its Act East policy. Thus, reaching out to like-minded nations and emerging partners, like Taiwan, presents a win-win situation for both,” a senior government official said, requesting anonymity.


India’s view on the ‘one-China’ policy has historically worked to repel collaboration with Taiwan. However, several Indian geopolitical analysts and strategic experts have mooted that New Delhi can explore an array of streams to forge ties with Taipei without being needlessly defensive. Policy experts have also pointed out that the objective behind the deepening India-Taiwan ties should not only be seen as a countermeasure to contain a rising China, there is a need to now to look at this budding bilateral relationship under the garb of a broader lens — mainly in the context of Taiwan also being an important stakeholder in the emerging dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region.


“Both India and Taiwan mutually benefit from increased relations and citizen-to-citizen connections. As Taiwan continues to lose official diplomatic partners, unofficial Taiwanese relations with regionally significant countries, fulfill an important role in maintaining Taiwan’s aspiration of independence. Due to India’s economic and political importance within Asia, it could also serve as a powerful unofficial partner in fulfilling this goal,” said Dr. Liyaqat Khan, Associate Professor in the Department of Civics and Politics, University of Mumbai.


He added that under President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan has moved ahead to change itself from a ‘one-China’ policy. Conversely, India and Taiwan in recent times highly regarded diplomats as de facto envoys in each other’s capitals, signaling an aspiration to give impetus to their bilateral agreements. “Taiwan is willing to partner with major stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific to ensure regional stability and peace. India should extend its hand and embrace Taiwan,” Dr. Khan insisted.