Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Places in news: Taiwan Strait


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Taiwan Strait

Mains level: One China Policy

India has for the first time referred to what it called “the militarization of the Taiwan Strait”, marking a rare instance of New Delhi appearing to comment on China’s actions towards Taiwan.

What is the news?

  • Two American warships have recently sailed very close to China through Taiwan Strait.
  • This has intimidated the China which is already fuming due to the visit of Nancy Pelosi.

Taiwan Strait

  • The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental China (and Asia of course).
  • The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north.
  • The narrowest part is 130 km wide.

Issues over Taiwan Strait

  • The Taiwan Strait is itself a subject of an international dispute over its political status.
  • China claims to enjoy sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait” and regards the waterway as “internal territorial waters” instead of being international waters.
  • This means that the Chinese government denies any foreign vessel having the freedom of navigation in the strait.
  • This position has drawn strong objections from the western World.

India’s change of stance

  • India has followed a “One China policy” since its recognition of the PRC in 1949, and only maintains trade and cultural relations with Taiwan.
  • India routinely reiterated this policy until 2008 after which it stopped mentioning it in official statements.
  • This is a demand that China usually asks of most countries in official declarations.

Why is India shifting its stance?

  • China often make provocative statements claiming Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It often moves to issue “stapled visas” to Indian citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal.


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