Despite China’s rising military power and border disputes with neighboring countries, it is not India’s policy to contain its giant neighbor, Indian Minister of External Affairs S. M. Krishna said on Wednesday.
Krishna said India would like to be on good terms with every country, including China, the US and Taiwan.
“We have a very cordial relationship with the United States. We have a cordial relationship with China. We have a cordial relationship with Taiwan,” he said.
One should not come to the conclusion that India is aligned with the US, Krishna said.
much in common
“When human rights are concerned, when democratic institutions are concerned, there is so much in common between the United States and India,” he said.
“So naturally one jumps to the conclusion that India and the United States see everything from the same lance, but there are areas where we don’t agree with the United States, but there are a number of areas in which we agree with the United States of America,” he said.
Krishna made the remarks in response to a question from the Taipei Times during his brief meeting with a visiting delegation of Taiwanese journalists at the Ministry of External Affairs in the Indian capital.
As China develops closer ties with Taiwan, it threatens to breach a ring of US allies that effectively contain China.
The Taipei Times asked what were the advantages and disadvantages of India being increasingly at the other end of this ring of containment
On the possibility of signing a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan, Krishna said India would “certainly” proceed with such an agreement should certain conditions be met.
“Once we are convinced that it is feasible and it is helpful to both countries, then certainly we will proceed with that,” he said.
Indian Joint Secretary (East Asia) of the Ministry of External Affairs Gautam Bambawale said on Monday the two countries were exploring the feasibility of signing an FTA, but Taipei subsequently said the timing was not “ripe” to do so.
He said Taiwan and India had signed a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement and the two countries should be able to sign a customs cooperation agreement in the next month or two. A double taxation avoidance agreement could follow in the next two or three months.
Commenting on the closer economic ties, Krishna said since both Taiwan and India believe in democracy and value human rights, the Indian government felt that it should have greater interaction with Taiwan.
The increase of bilateral trade also played a significant role, he added.
“This is the inevitable development which takes place when trade increased between the two nations,” he said. “With US$6 billion, which is the volume of trade between our two countries, naturally our relationship also becomes different.”