The growing cordial relationship between India and Taiwan has irked the Communist Party of China and has now resorted to threatening India with a retaliation.
Taiwan-India ties have reached a new high after lately, New Delhi has been extremely vocal about its engagement with Taiwan, moving away from its age-old policy of being hesitant to even acknowledge its ties with the island country. India, which has been wary of engaging Taiwan ever since it established relations with the country in 1995, has now decided to actively engage Taiwan.
Even though there is not much of an active Track-I diplomacy between two countries, in the last few years, the two sides have developed ties in areas such as business, tourism, culture, science and technology and people-to-people exchanges.
The growing relationship between the two countries is also evident from the fact that bilateral trade has increased to $7bn. Taiwan has also brought nearly $350mn worth of investments to India. Taiwan’s Foxconn, one of the largest supplier of tech-giant Apple, is reportedly investing $1bn to expand it’s Apple iPhones assembling units in India. Currently, there are about 106 Taiwanese companies operating in India.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Taiwan-India Parliamentary Friendship Association at the legislature in Taipei recently, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Chung-Kwang said that the relationship between two countries have reached a new high and added that India is a good place for Taiwanese businesses to build production bases, given its democracy, ample human resources and strategically important location.
“Resentment over China has been rising in India, not just because of decades-long border conflict, but also because of China’s aggressive expansion in South Asia, its bullying of other countries and its dissemination of COVID-19. The wind is beginning to blow in Indian society, he said.
Taiwan Legislator Wu Yu-chin, the chairwoman of Taiwan-India Parliamentary Friendship Association, said she will promote bilateral parliamentary exchanges.
“We hope we can form a delegation to visit India’s parliament when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The objectives of the association are to promote parliamentary dialogue as well as freedom and democracy,” Wu Yu-chin said.
Warm ties between India-Taiwan upsets China, propagandists issue threats
However, the warm ties between Delhi and Taipei have now become a major strategic headache for Communist Party of China, who have been vehemently opposing any positive engagement between the two countries. The Chinese Communist Party and its propaganda outlets are constantly issuing threats to India, reminding Delhi about ‘consequences’ for non-adherence to the so-called ‘One-China’ policy.
Hu Xijin, the Editor-in-Chief of Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece Global Times, perturbed by increasing closeness of two countries, took to Twitter to issue threats to India. Citing an India Today report, Xijin claimed that when social powers played with the Taiwan question, they should be aware that China could support separatist forces in North-East India.
The Editor-in-Chief of Chinese propaganda machinery Global Times also warned India that China could restore the status of Sikkim.
“These could be our potential retaliation cards. Indian nationalists should be self-conscious. Their country is fragile,” he added.
The anti-India rant by Hu Xijin came after India Today TV had broadcast an interview with Foreign Minister of Taiwan, Joseph Wu. In his interview, Joseph Wu had spoken about a wide range of issues pertaining to India-Taiwan relations. The Foreign Minister had touched upon issues on developing bilateral relations between two countries and pitched ideas to move away supply chains from hostile nations such as China.
Attacking the People Republic of China, the Taiwanese Foreign Minister in his interview had said, “Pressing Indians or the Indian press not to report about Taiwan’s National Day is against our value and we are very happy to see that the Indian press and the Indian friends disregarded the Chinese pressure and celebrated our National Day with us.”
Following the interview, unsurprisingly, the Chinese embassy in Delhi had also lodged a protest claiming that the interview stood in violation of the “One-China principle”.
“It seriously violated One-China principle and sent completely wrong message to Indian people. The Chinese Embassy in India lodges strong representation and firm opposition against India Today providing platform for Taiwan DPP authority separatist activities disregarding Indian government’s long-standing position,” read the Chinese embassy statement.
China had issued diktats to Indian media to adhere ‘One-China’ policy
This is not the first time that the Communist Party of China has been expressing its frustration against India for engaging with Taiwan. Last week, the Chinese mission in Delhi had issued diktats to Indian media for asking them to adhere to ‘One-China’ policy.
Ahead of Taiwan’s national day on October 10, the Chinese mission in Delhi called upon the Indian media not to refer to Taiwan as a “nation”. In the letter, the Chinese embassy had said, “it would like to remind our media friends that there is only one China in the world” and the “Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China.”
China’s directive to Indian media came a day after Taiwanese trade office in New Delhi had placed full-page advertisements in the Indian newspapers ahead of their national day on 10 October.
However, unfazed by threats by Chinese establishment, Taiwan Foreign Minister had said that he hoped the Indian media would ask the Chinese mission to “get lost”.
Similarly, Taiwanese MP Wang Ting-yu, attacking the Chinese embassy over its diktats to Indian media, warned them by saying make no mistake, this is not about Taiwan’s status in the world but it was about China’s open assault on press freedom.