India is committed to maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, while working with like-minded partners to deal with common challenges, including threats to maritime security, India Taipei Association Director-General Gourangalal Das said.
India is a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) with Australia, Japan and the US. On Sept. 24, US President Joe Biden hosted the first-ever in-person Quad leaders’ summit at the White House, which included Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Das discussed India’s views and contributions to the Indo-Pacific region’s security in an interview with the Taipei Times and its sister paper, the Chinese-language Liberty Times.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
“The term Indo-Pacific underlines the inherent connectivity and indivisibility of the interests of the littoral states of the two oceans, Indian and the Pacific. The popularity of the idea reflects not only contemporary geopolitics, but also the reality of globalization,” he said.
“Unless we conceptualize them together, we will not be able to respond to, and make the best of, the evolving trends in this part of the world,” he added.
“Indo-Pacific is our homeland. Whether to concentrate on our east or west, whether to focus on our immediate or extended neighborhood is a false choice,” Das said.
“Today, East Asia and the Pacific are the most dynamic arena of India’s global engagement as a result of three decades of intensive economic cooperation, giving this region the highest heft and priority for our well-being,” he said.
“The Indo-Pacific being our home and source of our economic vitality, India has a deep and legitimate interest in maintaining its free, open and inclusive character, in preserving peace, security and prosperity, and in promoting respect for international law in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
“We have pursued bilateral and minilateral cooperation with like-minded partners to deal with common challenges — ranging from natural disasters to piracy and threats to maritime security,” he added.
A minilateral initiative would involve just three to four countries, he said.
“India is also working to develop a positive agenda to enhance human-centric security in the Indo-Pacific, whether to foster connectivity, to harness our oceans, to fight pandemic[s] or to bring resilience to our supply chains,” he said.
Taiwanese officials have expressed hope that Taiwan could be involved in the Quad mechanism.
While that has not yet happened, the importance of peace and security in the Taiwan Strait was one of the issues discussed in a virtual meeting among Quad countries on Aug. 12.
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
SCENIC TRAIN TOURS: TRA Director-General Du Wei said experts on aesthetics and railway culture have worked for 10 months to restore the blue locomotive Breezy Blue, the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) tourism train, is to be launched on the South Link Line on Saturday. The railway operator spent about 10 months restoring the blue diesel-powered train, which first provided service to students and commuters before being outsourced to Lion Travel, which organizes railway tour packages. TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微) told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Pingtung County’s Fangliao Township (枋寮) that the agency hopes that the restored Breezy Blue would provide an authentic experience to railway fans as well as those with fond memories of riding the blue trains to work or