New Delhi: India said Friday it was concerned over the developments around Taiwan and called for avoiding ‘unilateral actions’ to change the status quo in the region. The observations came days after China held its biggest-ever military drills around the self-ruled island following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
In an apparent reference to a question on the ‘One-China’ policy at a media briefing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India’s relevant policies are well-known and they do not require reiteration.
It was India’s first reaction following increasing tension between China and Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit to the island last week.
Bagchi spoke on the overall situation around Taiwan. He said India is for de-escalation of tensions and pitched for efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region. “Like many other countries, India too is concerned at recent developments over Taiwan,” Bagchi said.
“We urge the exercise of restraint, avoidance of unilateral actions to change status quo, de-escalation of tensions and efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region. India’s relevant policies are well-known and consistent. They do not require reiteration,” Bagchi asserted.
China held a mega air and naval exercise around Taiwan following Pelosi’s trip. The move triggered fears of a major confrontation between the two sides.
China considers Taiwan as its breakaway province. The Taiwanese government has alleged that China used the military exercise as a practice to attack the country in future.
The US has been steadfast in its outreach to Taiwan in the face of increasing Chinese hostilities. It has reassured Taipei of its continued support.
India has been promoting ties with Taiwan in areas of trade, investment, tourism, culture, education and people-to-people exchanges. The volume of bilateral trade has grown nearly six fold from USD 1.19 billion in 2001 to almost USD 7.05 billion in 2018. India ranks as Taiwan’s 14th largest export destination and 18th largest source of imports, according to official data.
By end of 2018, around 106 Taiwanese companies were operating in India, with the total investment amounting to USD 1.5 billion. These were in the fields of information and communication technology, medical devices, automobile components, machinery, steel, electronics, construction, engineering and financial services. The two sides have also set up teams for further expansion of ties in education as well as skill development training.
India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but both sides have trade and people-to-people ties.
In 1995, New Delhi set up India-Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei to promote interactions between the two sides and to facilitate business, tourism and cultural exchanges.