Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 3 News List

New association to focus on Taiwan-India ties

MOVING CLOSER The nonprofit group will try to facilitate governmental contacts despite the lack of formal ties to beef up relations with the fellow Asian democracy

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nonprofit Taiwan India Association will be established early next month in a bid to bolster bilateral relations between the two countries and incorporate government and private know-how into exploring the economic and strategic value of the Indian subcontinent.

The organization is the government's brainchild and was initiated by the National Security Council. Although the association will be registered as a private non-profit organization, its members will include the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs and other governmental departments.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official yesterday said that the association will be a "track-two" institution for think tank and private exchanges between the two countries, and its primary function will be to facilitate two-way governmental contacts, which are restrained due to the lack of official diplomatic ties between India and Taiwan.

The first director for the association is likely to be Yu Shyi-kun, former secretary-general of the Presidential Office and currently a candidate for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairmanship. The association's preparatory committee is headed by the director of the Chung Hua Institute for Economic Research Ke Cheng-en (柯承恩).

As one of the BRICs -- shorthand for Brazil, Russia, India and China, the world's four fastest growing economies -- India has performed impressively in technology. Taiwan has been continuously importing high-tech engineers from India, and the nation is also rich in oil resources which Taiwan could access, the official said.

In addition, India's democratic experience has also made it a valuable partner for Taiwan in strengthening ties with other democratic allies.

The official said that the association will consolidate energies from different government departments to allow for more efficiency and flexibility than most bureaucracies can achieve on their own.

The association is expected to get off the ground next month. Tentative objectives on its working agenda include improving the dialogue between the two countries' political leaders, businesses and cultural groups, strengthening bilateral exchanges between think tanks and research institutes and leading up to non-official strategic dialogue between Taiwan and India.

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