From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : One-China Principle
Mains level : India-Taiwan Relations
As US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived upsetting China, India was keenly watching the developments, although it has not yet commented on it.
What is the ‘One China’ policy?
- It is the diplomatic acknowledgment of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government.
- Taiwan’s government was set up by the Kuomintang, whose party logo is reflected in Taiwan’s flag
- Initially, many governments including the US recognised Taiwan as they shied away from Communist China.
- But the diplomatic winds shifted as China and the United States saw a mutual need to develop relations beginning in the 1970s, with the US and other countries cutting ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing.
Why is China obsessed with Taiwan?
- Taiwan is the largest producer of electronic chips, which are supplied to almost all the industries, from phones to laptops, watches to game consoles, industrial equipment to automotive, and aircraft and fighter jets.
- TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is the largest foundry in the world and holds around 65 percent of the global production of chips.
- Any potential conflict with China would completely disrupt the entire supply chain of TSMC and labor availability, and could cause major shortage of electronic chips.
- Additionally, China controls five percent of the global production of chips, which could also be affected.
- This could further impact the already existing supply-demand gap for electronic components.
India- Taiwan Relations
- India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan yet, as it follows the One-China policy.
- However, during then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India in December 2010, India did not mention support for the One-China policy in the joint communique.
- In 2014, when PM Modi came to power, he invited Taiwan’s Ambassador Chung-Kwang Tien, along with Lobsang Sangay, president of the Central Tibetan Administration to his swearing-in.
- While following the One-China policy, India has an office in Taipei for diplomatic functions — India-Taipei Association (ITA) is headed by a senior diplomat.
- Taiwan has the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in New Delhi. Both were established in 1995.
- Their ties focus on commerce, culture and education.
- Now in their third decade, these have been deliberately kept low-profile, owing to China’s sensitivities.
- For example, parliamentary delegation visits and legislature-level dialogues have stopped since 2017, around the time the India-China border standoff happened in Doklam.
The new push
- Any significant development in India-Taiwan relations runs the risk of meeting with a likely stern reaction from Beijing.
- This explains India’s steady, albeit slow, outreach to Taiwan.
- Given that India-China relations are not likely to witness a return to normalcy in the near future, India should consider adopting a bold, comprehensive and long-term approach to engage Taiwan.