Taiwan has obtained consent from the Indian government to set up a second representative office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The new office would be set up in Chennai to complement the work of Taiwan’s representative office in New Delhi, providing services and assistance to Taiwanese businesspeople, Taiwanese students and tourists in southern India, the ministry said.
The Chennai office would also serve Taiwan-registered fishing boats operating on the Indian Ocean, of which there were 542 last year, it said.
With Taiwanese organizations’ frequent visits to southern India and Sri Lanka to provide humanitarian and medical services, the new representative office would also help reinforce bilateral cooperation in humanitarian assistance, it said.
Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu State and is India’s fourth most populous city, with a population of more than 4.3 million.
The ministry said Taiwan has held industrial exhibitions in Chennai every year since 2007.
Last year’s exhibition generated US$18.2 million in business, three times higher than the previous year, the ministry said.
About 20 Taiwanese corporations, including Delta Electronics, Foxconn Technology Group and United Microelectronics, operate in the southern Indian city.
Chennai has made progress in the software industry in recent years and, along with its neighboring areas of Bangalore and Hyderabad, represents a high-tech “tri-force,” the ministry said.
In addition, Tamil Nadu has great development potential because it is the most urbanized state in India, with the most industrial development and highest ranking on the Human Development Index, the ministry said.
It also has 113 industrial parks and 37 higher education institutes, the ministry added.
Tamil Nadu and its four neighboring states together have a population of 230 million and a GDP of US$180 billion, it said.
India is one of the countries with which Taiwan is seeking to develop closer ties, the ministry said, adding that it has started a feasibility study for a bilateral economic agreement with India.
Taiwan and India first established reciprocal representative offices in 1995.
Meanwhile, Taipei Economic and Cultural Center Representative in New Delhi Ong Wenchyi (翁文祺) on Friday said direct air services between Taiwan and southern India would be launched within a year to increase exchanges between the two countries.
Ong said the office has been in discussion with the Indian government on the issue and hoped that the goal would be realized in a year.
Direct air services would make the establishment of the Chennai office more meaningful because it would serve more Taiwanese in the region, Ong said.
Ong said the new office would open early next year, saying that the Indian government hoped it could be established “as soon as possible.”