India tight-lipped on Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit

New Delhi's decision to remain seemingly cold to the developments in Taiwan comes even as Beijing remains a major irritant for New Delhi which, as part of the Quad.

Published: 03rd August 2022 08:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd August 2022 08:51 PM   |  A+A-

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during a bilateral meeting. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday maintained a studied silence over the controversial visit of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s to Taiwan in the face of a furore in China which took little time to scramble jets over the Taiwan Strait.

India's decision to remain seemingly cold to the developments in Taiwan comes even as Beijing remains a major irritant for New Delhi which, as part of the Quad (along with US, Australia and Japan) has been taking concrete steps to thwart China’s aggressive posturing in the Indo-Pacific.

Like the US, India follows the One China policy. However, Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a break from it. After China and Taiwan split in 1949, the One-China policy only recognises China and not the existence of Taiwan.

"India too refused to reaffirm the One China-Policy in 2010, after Chinese premier Wen Jiabao visited India. India was miffed after China issued 'stapled visas’ instead of normal visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir travelling to China. However, despite all this and the tension around the LAC, India has chosen not to comment on this episode as any comment could escalate tensions further," say sources.

Meanwhile, India has been continuously engaged with Taiwan and focussed on strengthening trade. After the Galwan clashes in 2020, Gourangalal Das (then joint secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs ) was sent as the ambassador to Taipei.

ALSO READ | 27 Chinese warplanes enter Taiwan's air defence zone after Pelosi's departure

Though India doesn’t have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, New Delhi has an office in Taipei for diplomatic functions called the India Taipei Association (ITA) headed by a senior diplomat and Taiwan has the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre (TECC) in New Delhi. Both were established in 1995.

Taiwanese ambassador Chung-Kwang Tien was invited for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing in ceremony in 2014.

Meanwhile, bilateral trade between India and Taiwan is on the ascendant. "India and Taiwan signed a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) in 2002 which came into effect in 2005. Bilateral  rade between India and Taiwan grew from $2 billion in 2006 to $7 billion in 2020 – registering a 185 per cent growh. FDI inflows from Taiwan to India was $698.6 million between 2000 to 2021," say sources.

Even though India has stayed away from commenting on Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China along with Russia and Pakistan have come down strongly against the visit. "Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan region is a reckless and provocative move. It is a major event upgrading the substantive relations between US and Taiwan and sends wrong signals to Taiwan separatists," said a spokesman of  China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, announced several military exercises around the island and made statements after the US delegation reached Taipei on Wednesday.

Russia too denounced the visit as a provocation, expressing full solidarity with ally China. "What is connected with this tour and a possible visit to Taiwan is a pure provocation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said Islamabad was deeply concerned about the evolving situation in the Taiwan Strait, which has "serious implications for regional peace and stability". "The world is already reeling through a critical security situation due to the Ukraine conflict, with destabilising implications for international food and energy security. The world cannot afford another crisis that has negative consequences for global peace, security and economy," Pakistan FO said.

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