Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Moving India-Taiwan ties in a new direction

A discussion with foreign policy specialists on the potential for an Indian military attache in Taiwan sheds light on the benefits closer collaboration with South Asia’s emerging power could bring the nation

By Liam Gibson  /  Contributing reporter

Hasija says submarine building is an area where India can further aid Taiwan, having had considerable success with their program, launching a second indigenous nuclear sub late last year.

Shen adds that further intelligence exchange and military-industrial cooperation would also be beneficial, especially in regard to missiles. He says that the technology behind India’s anti-naval cruise missile BrahMos and Taiwan’s new Hsiung Feng III are highly complementary and co-development of new missiles between the two nations may prove fruitful.

LACK OF VISION

Yet despite these opportunities, Fang says Taiwan isn’t proactive enough in its engagement with India.

“We lack a long-term plan,” he says. “This is evident from the fact that there is no graduate institute of Indian studies in Taiwan.”

Fang says Taiwanese students are keen to learn more about South Asia as shown by a summer course titled “India Studies,” that was held at Tsinghua University last year and attracted over 200 applicants.

Shen agrees that Taiwan’s research on India is insufficient and that to create a broader diplomatic vision for India, higher levels of education exchange with the South Asian power are required.

He adds that in a broader sense, Taiwan needs to diversify its strategic alliances and India is a natural partner as it shares democratic values with the nation.

At a time when the direction of US foreign policy is shrouded in uncertainty, fostering closer defense ties with other powers in the Indo-Pacific region is in Taiwan’s best interest. With both Delhi’s and Taipei’s strategic goals closely aligned, this is an optimal time for the two sides to collaborate further, such as with an attache deployment. Yet for a committed partnership or even alliance to be achieved, Taiwan needs to craft a long-term plan for engagement with India and invest deeply in education resources and research on the South Asian region.

“We cannot afford to ignore Taiwan… Until now, India’s Act East Policy has been based around trade, but now we must include defense strategy too… and Taiwan should be a part of that,” Hasjia says.

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