Thu, Nov 11, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Former Indian minister to attend meet

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Indian defense minister George Fernandes and a delegation of India's leading academics will be attending a conference entitled "India-Japan-Taiwan Trialogue: Prospects for Democratic Coopera-tion" held by the Taiwan Thinktank in Taipei tomorrow.

Fernandes, currently a member of the House of the People and president of the United Party, is slated to give a keynote speech in the conference.

Fernandes and the Indian delegation's visit is hailed as a rare high-level exchange between Taiwan and India, which, despite increased ties over recent years, see few high-ranking official interactions because of pressure from China.

Among the delegation are Jagdish Shettigar, economic policy adviser to the BJP, Shyam Sunder, professor of accounting, economics and finance at the Yale School of Management, Y.S. Rajan, principal adviser of the Confederation of Indian Industry and M.D. Nalapat, professor of geopolitics and UNESCO Peace Chair at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

Jaya Jaitly, former president of India's Samata Socialist Party, will also attend the conference. She is the daughter of India's first-ever ambassador to Japan.

The conference "aims to promote awareness of potential areas of tripartite cooperation between India, Japan and Taiwan in the areas of economic growth and trade, high-tech industry, democratic development as well as other inter-regional issues of vital interest to each country," the Taiwan Thinktank said in a press release.

The think tank said it believes that an India-Japan-Taiwan strategic triangle will not only strengthen India-Taiwan and Japan-Taiwan relations, but also enhance interaction between India and Japan.

"This trilateral cooperation will undoubtedly consolidate the alliance of common values that each of these three countries shares: freedom, democracy, human rights and peace," it said.

Fernandes, who left office as defense minister this May, has maintained friendly connections with Taiwan. He is the first ministerial-level official in India to brave Beijing's pressure to meet with officials from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi.

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