India has long been touted as one of the world’s top emerging economies, and was a BRIC nation — Brazil, Russia, India and China — when it formed in 2001, expanding to BRICS in 2010 with the addition of South Africa.
For a long time, India trailed China in the speed and size of its economic development. The past few years have seen the country increase in geopolitical importance and engage more with other members of the international community, not just because of its inherent strengths, but because of the counterbalance it is hoped it can provide against China. Major economies have come to regard India as an essential partner, including in multilateral military exercises and as part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in the Indo-Pacific along with the US, Japan and Australia.
India’s long-term insistence on carving its own path, refusing to firmly align itself with any one nation, has not changed. Its growing influence and power, to an extent, makes it an unknown quantity. Nobody is under the illusion that it will fall into lock-step with the Western democratic world as was the hope for China after Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) opened the country up to economic reforms. Some have linked the West’s muted response to Canada’s allegations that the Indian government was involved in the killing of a Sikh with Canadian nationality on Canadian soil to its courting of India.
Some might see similarities between China’s rise and that of India, and are wary of the direction the latter might take, but Taiwan has no concerns in that regard. Rather, it stands to benefit by increasing the depth and frequency of ties between New Delhi and Taipei, as both have to deal with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “gray zone” tactics and distortions of history to claim territory that it has no historical, legal or rational claim to.
For India, this is being manifested most explicitly in border disputes between western Tibet and Kashmir and in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which the CCP claims as “South Tibet.”
Meanwhile, the CCP insists that Taiwan is an inalienable part of its territory, and has intentionally misinterpreted UN Resolution 2758 and forcefully insisted on other countries’ adherence to the “one China” principle. The latest example of this was China’s publication of a “standard map” with an aspirational mapping of its “territories” that included contested areas involving not just India and Taiwan, but also Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Japan and Russia.
India and Taiwan experience military provocations from the CCP. Both have to constantly refute the bogus nature of the CCP’s claims over their territory. Both suspect that China has its reasons to wrest sovereignty from them, over the whole or part of their territory: China would benefit hugely from annexing Taiwan and is arguably troubled by a stronger, more geopolitically influential India on its doorstep, especially as it is showing signs of declining economically and demographically.
All of this suggests that increased ties, trade and technological exchanges would be mutually beneficial for Taiwan and India. There have been visits by Indian politicians and parliamentary exchanges, but these must be more visible and more frequent. The absence of official ties is an obstacle, but much can be done outside of the public domain for now, until a more stable and explicit relationship is established.
Taiwan and India can learn to play in the gray zone, to counter the gray zone tactics employed by the CCP.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has a good reason to avoid a split vote against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in next month’s presidential election. It has been here before and last time things did not go well. Taiwan had its second direct presidential election in 2000 and the nation’s first ever transition of political power, with the KMT in opposition for the first time. Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was ushered in with less than 40 percent of the vote, only marginally ahead of James Soong (宋楚瑜), the candidate of the then-newly formed People First Party (PFP), who got almost 37
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) has called on his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart, William Lai (賴清德), to abandon his party’s Taiwanese independence platform. Hou’s remarks follow an article published in the Nov. 30 issue of Foreign Affairs by three US-China relations academics: Bonnie Glaser, Jessica Chen Weiss and Thomas Christensen. They suggested that the US emphasize opposition to any unilateral changes in the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, and that if Lai wins the election, he should consider freezing the Taiwanese independence clause. The concept of de jure independence was first
Many news reports about the Israel-Hamas war highlight casualties, deaths, and destruction. Journalists rarely delve into how either society has responded and mobilized to deal with the war. This article provides a brief view of how Israel and Israelis have reacted to the war as individuals, groups, and as a nation. A useful template for Taiwan to prepare for a potential future conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is how Israelis self-organized to deal with this crisis. Prior to the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7, Israelis were even more polarized about public policy than the US or Taiwan.
Following the failure of the proposed “blue-white alliance,” New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi named Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) as his running mate on the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential ticket, while the other prospective half of the alliance, Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), named TPP Legislator Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈). The result is a three-horse race, which is getting tighter. Hou and Ko are likely to put all their focus on being seen as the top challenger to Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) candidate, to