Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

How Racism overshadowed India-Taiwan Co-operation


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: India Taiwan Relations


Central Idea

  • Recent reports of India and Taiwan considering a MoU to facilitate Indian workers’ employment in Taiwan have revealed underlying issues of racism and stereotypes.
  • These negative perceptions have implications for both countries and the need for addressing such biases is paramount.

Racism in Taiwan and Stereotypes

  • MoU Announcement: Reports of a MoU between India and Taiwan sparked racism in Taiwan towards Indian men.
  • Negative Stereotypes: Taiwanese netizens labeled Indian men as dirty, uneducated, and even used derogatory terms like ‘rapists.’
  • China-Backed Media: China-backed media amplified stereotypes, perpetuating narratives about women’s safety in India.
  • Taiwan’s Response: Taiwan clarified that the news of Indian workers’ arrival was ‘inaccurate’ but acknowledged ongoing talks with India.

Reality of Indian Workers Globally

  • Worldwide Presence: Indian workers, both blue-collar and white-collar, are present globally, contributing significantly to economies.
  • Remittances: According to a World Bank report, Indian laborers remittances abroad reached a record USD 100 billion in 2021, highlighting their global acceptance.

Misconceptions and Global Gender Issues

  • Misplaced Blame: Associating crimes and issues with specific nationalities hinders cooperation.
  • Global Gender Inequality: Issues such as unequal pay, workplace harassment, and unfair work burdens affect women worldwide.

India-Taiwan Cooperation: Mutual Benefits

  • Taiwan’s Aging Population: Taiwan faces an impending ‘super-aged’ society by 2025 and requires a younger workforce.
  • India’s Labor Force: India can provide a youthful and skilled workforce to fill Taiwan’s labor gap.
  • Economic Benefits: Such cooperation benefits both countries by addressing unemployment and boosting foreign remittances for India and supporting Taiwan’s economy.

Taiwan’s Focus on India

  • Historical Perspective: Taiwan has traditionally focused on Europe and the US for economic growth, trade, and funding.
  • Need for Attention: India, as an economic and strategic partner, deserves more attention for stronger ties.

Taiwan’s Racism Problem

  • Past Instances: Taiwan has faced criticism for discriminatory policies against Southeast Asian workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Exploitative Practices: Some foreign workers in Taiwan experience exploitative practices bordering on forced labor.

Taiwan’s Reputation and India’s Support

  • Positive Image: Taiwan’s democratic credentials and resistance to China’s influence have earned it a positive image among Indians.
  • India’s Support: India’s support for Taiwan enhances its international standing and challenges China’s efforts to isolate it.


  • Addressing racism, stereotypes, and discriminatory policies is essential for nurturing the growing strategic and economic ties between India and Taiwan.
  • Both nations must work towards fostering a friendly and inclusive environment to protect the investment made in their relationship and counteract divisive narratives.

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